Newsela & Izzit – Read at your level!

I want my students to read more. But they all have different interests, and I can teach them skills through any content. What are some sites with solid stories and a variety of fresh content?
  • Well, Newsela (also an app that students can get from the Chrome Web Store!) is great – you, as the teacher, create an account. They create an account and join your class. Then you can assign them articles to read, or they can choose their own. If an article is too difficult for them, they can adjust the reading level on the right-hand side of the page – they will still get the same content as another person who reads the same article. You can decide what to do next – look for references to research? Look for references to past historical events? Look for transitions? Every class could use some more current reading, probably. 🙂
  • Izzit requires you to create a free account, but they offer a ton of constantly updated content – plus! – pre-reading questions and (if you set it up) quizzes for the articles. Again, there are many ways any teacher can use current events articles in class – and the more kids read, even if it’s in small doses throughout the day, the better.

Remove annoying clutter from websites and annotate directly on pages

Summer Concert Boom Marks Industry Turnaround” is a great article to read in my business class. But the suggested articles next to the story, and the comments below, are inappropriate. How can I ask them to pull up this story without traumatizing (or tantalizing) them?
  • First, instruct students to go to the Chromebook web store and get two extensions: (WARNING: You have to get these extensions, too, for this demonstration to work!)
  1. Mercury Reader
  2. Page Marker
  • Let’s say you want to read this article about scientists possibly eradicating motion sickness in your class with your students. Look how many distracting variables exist on the page when you click on it.

newsbad

  • But if your students get the Mercury Reader extension, you can ask them to click on the Mercury Reader icon and then use it on the page. Suddenly, the story looks like this. Much better, right?

newsgood.jpg

Now you can take it one step further. If you’d like students to annotate for every mention of, say, data referenced in an article, they can just click on the icon for Page Marker and circle as you (or they) read. It keeps them reading actively, and they can do it right on the screen. No wasted paper or extra paper for you to look at. If you really need to see it, they can screenshot it for you.