Newsela 101: Focus on Reading Skills

When I initially started using Newsela in my classroom I only utilized it for current events and to supplement the material in my social studies textbook. As I became more familiar with everything Newsela has to offer, I realized how great it would be to support my reading instruction. In the Binder on Newsela, I’m able to see how my students have done in the 8 reading skills defined by Common Core Standards. Last year I leveraged this data to help my students improve their skills reading informational text. 

This was a great activity to have my students intentionally work on their reading skills and analyze their own data. I saw impressive improvement with both their reading and in their confidence reading informational text.

To access copies of the resources I used in my classroom, please click here.


Students will focus on one reading skill at a time in an effort to achieve mastery of that skill.


After using Newsela for several weeks to build baseline data, have students analyze their reading data. Using information from the binder students should record their starting percentages for each of the eight reading skills covered by the quizzes. After recording starting data students should choose one skill to focus on for a defined period of time. Using the advanced search feature students are able to search for articles based on that particular skill. After reading and recording their progress on ten articles focused on that chosen skill, students should meet with their teacher to analyze their progress. At that time, the student and teacher will decide whether the student would benefit from continuing to focus on that reading skill or if they should move to a different skill.

Tips and Suggestions:

  • On occasion, have students who are working on the same reading skill work through an article together.
  • Set an end date at which time students should have their ten articles finished.

Newsela Article Pair:

Cultivating Close Reading Text Sets

To read more about how Newsela can benefit students, click here.

Newsela 101: Focus on Reading Skills
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