Using Newsela with Google Classroom

Joseph Quadrino
Curriculum Specialist
News on April 02 2021

Using Newsela with Google Classroom

Differentiation is one of the most important qualities of an effective classroom lesson. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most difficult and time-consuming things for a teacher to create. In a classroom of 30 students who read across seven different grade levels, how can you possibly give a single text that each student can benefit from? For many teachers, there are generally two options: do the extra work and find and distribute several different texts to different student groups, or do no extra work and give one text that is the wrong reading level for a majority of the students. As any infomercial would tell you, there’s got to be another way!

Newsela as a solution

Newsela is a website that creates and curates articles across all subject areas, and provides that same text in multiple reading levels. It is free to use for everyone, but a paid Newsela license provides additional features like collecting student reading data. Do you want to practice close reading with your students, but want every student to practice at their own reading level? Simply find an article using Newsela’s search feature, share the link, and have students can select the reading level that works best for them. That’s all a free Newsela service! Let’s break down the steps below.

Step #1: Find the article

Go to www.newsela.com and find an article that will interest your students. Use the “Search” feature to find an article on Mars, for example, because your students loved learning about space. You can even filter the search results by text level to ensure that your elementary school students will read a grade-appropriate article.

Newsela’s search page with “Search” circled in the top left corner and “Text Level” circled on the left middle of the page.

Step #2: Share the link

Once you find an article for your students, you can share it easily by using the “Share” button underneath the article title. If you’re using Google Classroom, you can send the Newsela article right to your Classroom. Alternatively, you can attach the link to a Classroom assignment, and then attach any other Docs, Slides, or Forms you would want your students to complete as well.

Newsela’s article page with the “Share” menu displayed. “Share” is circled in the middle of the page, with “Google Classroom” and “Copy Link” circled below.

Step #3: Students select reading level

Once students open up their Newsela article, it will appear in the default reading level. However, you can coach your students to select a reading level that is easier, or more appropriate, for their individual proficiency. Above the article, you can see the current Lexile level with a dropdown arrow. Selecting this dropdown arrow will allow your students to select the reading level that is best for them.

Newsela’s article page with the Lexile level circled in the top right corner

Newsela has many other great features, like the ability to annotate, create text sets for students to read, and built-in quizzes and writing prompts.

To learn more about other Newsela features, check out our Newsela courses on the OTIS for educators platform. You can watch Getting Started with Newsela for free after creating a free OTIS account. If you already have a paid OTIS account, be sure to also check out Using Newsela to Teach Current Events.


For more tips, tricks, and tools for teaching in and out of the classroom, check out more articles on the Teq Talk blog.

We also offer virtual professional development, training, and remote learning support for educators with OTIS for educators. Explore the technology, tools, and strategies that can spark student success — no matter where teaching or learning are happening.