Newsela is an education technology startup that publishes daily news articles at five different reading levels that span 3rd though 12th grade. The articles cover everything from science to money to art. Students and teachers can easily find articles and select the appropriate lexile level. The site also offers assessments, which are aligned to Common Core standards, to determine student’s understanding of the article and allows teachers/parents to review student progress. Although other competitors, such as Time for Kids and Scholastic News, offer leveled news articles, Newsela publishes new content much faster and has more levels. Additionally, the content is free.
As a former teacher, I would have been ecstatic to have this resource available. It would have greatly reduced the amount of time that I spent trying to find articles that were of interest to the students and at a reading level that they could comprehend. The fact that articles are published daily is also a huge benefit because it ensures that there is enough content to support the multiple reading lessons that occur during the week and the more individualized instruction tailored to student’s needs and interests. It is also a great way to ensure that students are informed about current events.
With the adoption and implementation of the Common Core standards in many states and the greater focus on nonfiction, it is not surprising that Newelsa has seen rapid growth. Additionally, the team has a great combination of educators, journalists, designers, and entrepreneurs. This powerful combination has lead to Newsela being selected for the inaugural cohort at Kaplan EdTech Accelartor and being awarded at the Literacy Courseware Challengae. The startup raised $1.2 million in seed funding in October 2013. I think there is still a great deal to come for Newsela.