Support Reading Across any Subject with NewsELA and Diigo

Our school has been focusing on literacy this year and I found a great platform that I've been using to help teach reading of current events in the science classroom AND focus on reading skills and strategies. NewsELA can be installed into your chrome browser and has a host of news articles that you as a teacher can "assign" to students after you create you own classroom code and share it with them so you can track their progress over time.

View of articles on the NewsELA article page. Students can test themselves on "assigned" readings or based on interest. 

In the past, I would find articles on major news outlines and copy the links into a website for access. NewsELA grabs articles from major news outlets which ensures that topics are relevant and global and rewrites them at a number of different reading levels. The big plus that drew me to this was that students can select the reading level that is appropriate for them. If they've done MAP score testing, MAP generates a "lexile score" which is zone of proximal development with reading abilities and being able to choose a level that is good for them and MUCH easier than creating different tiered readings. As a teacher, you can dictate which levels students should read. If they're more accelerated readers, you can suggest higher levels, or drop it down for emergent readers.

As students generate data, patterns emerge as to who is on grade level. Image courtesy of

When working with reading development in the science classroom, I didn't know how effective my instruction was over the year until external assessments in the spring. To show effectiveness earlier, NewsELA shows progress in real-time and also generates a personalized "report" to show growth over time of individual students. After enough quizzes are taken, reading skills can be filtered to show how well a student can identify word meanings, text structure, central idea and arguments and claims. Just to name a few.

A students progress and reading level over time. Image courtesy of

Enter Diigo to Individualize Instruction and Focus Reading Skills Development

Diigo is a tool that allows you to annotate, highlight and save web articles, and it's for this reason that is becomes very handy for specific reading tasks. MAP and WIDA generates a list of tasks that individuals can focus on, and class lists and Descartes analysis on MAP will suggest a suggested activities for individuals such as:

  • Identify topic sentences, main ideas, and details in paragraphs
  • Differentiate between fact and opinion
  • Identify frequently used affixes and root words to make/extract meaning
  • Identify multiple meanings of a word in context ("Cell", "Table")

As students all have different areas of growth to work on with reading development, it can be made easier to group students together and use this highlighter to practice skills and share them with one another.

Class Diigo highlights and discussion points based on group tasks. 

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