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Newsela: Reading Comprehension of Current Events


Activity Website:
Tech Product/Equipment:
Computer and projector, Mobile devices for students

Activity Description

Source: Newsela homepage (License: Protected by Copyright (c) [i.e. screenshot])

Newsela is a personalized reading service designed to help students master non-fiction literacy by providing daily news articles at multiple reading levels. Newsela makes it easy for an entire class to read the same article at their own reading level.

The teacher assigns an article(s) to the class. Many of the articles have quizzes available. "Write" is a feature that allows students to answer open-ended questions. The teacher can customize the prompt.

Newsela offers a free version and a premium for pay program called Newsela Pro. Pro includes many additional features including student tracking, annotation on articles, etc. June 30, 2023 Newsela offers Newsela Lite. Articles will still be available at multiple reading levels but each week four articles will be available to select from. The articles will be available for four weeks. Each week one will be replaced. When an article is selected the teacher will be able to see student actions and quiz results. It is free to any teacher. Review the new features. 


  1. Sign up for a teacher account, enroll your students.(see how-to)
  2. Select article(s) for your class to read. To do this, open the article you want to assign. Select the button "Assign". You can change the assignment title, allow students to change the reading level and assign it to different classes. Select the +Add Class. This gives you a list of classes you have made. If you have not made a class you can select Create a New Class. If you have not added students, you can share the class link or use the class code. You can print the step-by-step instructions. You can add instructions for the student or leave it blank. When you select Invite Students you will see a link to share with the class or a class code.Select Save
  3. There is a Write prompt for each article. You can assign this prompt or create your own.
  4. Or print a copy of the Example Document (above) titled Summary Writing Graphic Organizer.
  5. To assist student enrollment, print document, Newsela How To. 


  1. Introduce the topic of current events.
  2. Demonstrate Newsela.
  3. Help students enroll . Give students the Sign-Up Code and instructions for Username and Password (see Example Document [above] titled Instructions on how the student can access Newsela.)
  4. Assign an article.
  5. If there is a quiz available, have students take it.
  6. If you are using the Write feature, demonstrate how students can enter their response to the Write prompt.
  7. Responses will be in your binder or distribute the Example Document and have students use the Summary Writing Graphic Organizer.

Teacher Tips


  • Take a look at the Customize Assignments for suggestions. 
  • Students  enjoy reading articles about current topics. If you do not have enough computers, print the article and hand it out to students.

Program Areas

  • ABE: Adult Basic Education
  • ESL: English as a Second Language
  • ASE: High School Equivalency Preparation
  • ASE: High School Diploma
  • AwD: Adults with Disabilities


  • Intermediate
  • High
  • Beginning High
  • Intermediate Low
  • Intermediate High
  • Advanced

Lesson Plan


Begin by asking "What's Happening?" Turn to your neighbor and share what is happening in your life, your family, community, country, or the world. After 5 minutes turn to another pair and share what you learned. After 5 minutes the class joins together and shares.

Engagement Enhancement

Newsela is an online reading service that provides daily news articles at multiple reading levels. By using this site the class will be able to read the same article, at the reading level for each learner. With practice and taking short quizzes, learner reading levels will improve. 

The activity today is to read an article and summarize it. 

All learners go to Newsela, Sign in as students. Fill out the information. Learners help each other complete enrollment.

Engagement Enhancement

What is a summary? What are the necessary parts? (this may be a review, if not go over "A summary is a brief statement of main points and conclusion.")

As a teacher or as a class select an article to read. If the teacher selects the article share the class link or use the class code. Point out that Newsela divides the article into sections. This gives the reader the chance to look back and summarize the sections one at a time looking for the main ideas. Then the reader can summarize the entire article.

For the presentation read an article as a class. Have learners volunteer to read each section of the article. Other volunteers can summarize the sections as completed. Move through the article. Once finished have a volunteer summarize the article. Write down the summary. Discuss the summary with the class. Edit as needed.

For extra practice, in pairs, learners can answer the quiz questions in the article. 

Engagement Enhancement

If the teacher has preselected an article, share the code or instruct the learners to divide into pairs and select their own choice of an article to read together. Learners read the article,  discuss the article and write a summary together.

Each learner takes the quiz for the article read.

Engagement Enhancement

Select a third article for learners to read individually, answer the questions on the quiz, and write a summary. Learners send the summaries to the teacher. This gives the teacher time to print the summaries for an in-class activity.

When the class meets again, learners trade their summaries with their partners. Each partner makes suggestions for improvement. Summaries are returned to the owner. The author can then edit the summary and resubmit it for teacher evaluation.

Engagement Extension

Learners submit a reflection paragraph of 1) what they learned, and 2) where they might use summary writing in their lives. Before turning the paragraph in to the teacher, learners share their reflections in a class discussion. 

As a class share what learners 



  • English Language Arts
    • English 1-4
  • Language Arts - Reading
    • Analysis
    • Comprehension
    • Inference and Interpretation
    • Synthesis and Generalization
  • Language Arts - Writing
    • Organization of Ideas
  • Reading
    • Consumer Skills
    • Critical Thinking/Decision Making
    • Government
    • Health
    • Learning to Learn
    • Vocabulary
  • Writing
    • Basic Sentences
    • Paragraph Skills


  • Reading Foundational Skills
    • RF.4 - Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension. (Fluency)
  • Reading
    • CCR Anchor 1 - Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
    • CCR Anchor 2 - Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
  • Writing
    • CCR Anchor 2 - Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
  • Language
    • CCR Anchor 4 - Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.


writing, reading levels, current events, news, newsela, reading comprehension


Use of the Services. The Website, App and Services, and the information, data and content made available on the Website, App or Services (“Content”) are protected by copyright and other intellectual property and proprietary rights laws throughout the world. Subject to the Terms, Newsela grants you a limited license to access, view, download, print or reproduce certain portions of the Services, as designated by Newsela, for the sole purpose of using the Services for your (or your Students’ or School’s) educational, non-commercial purposes. You can publish the lesson with the Newsela articles as long as you link to our website. You cannot download PDFs and load into an LMS (like Canvas, Schoology, etc. You cannot monetize the free resources from Newsela.
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN220124 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.