The 8th graders in my two reading/language arts classes are mostly children of immigrants who live on Chicago's south side. When reading independently, some love reading graphic novels and comics, while others devour fantasy or dystopian tales. Some read at a 3rd grade level and others can analyze high school-level texts. Several have special needs. Four are newcomers to the U.S. and are just beginning to learn English. Over half are emergent bilinguals. Nearly all live in a community characterized by love and struggle, where their caregivers work hard to provide for them.
Because my students read on so many different levels, and in two languages, I often have a difficult time providing them with quality non-fiction texts that help them improve their reading skills while also better understanding the most pressing issues of the day.
My kids care deeply about immigration, racism, climate change, the plight of refugees, gender and sexuality, human rights. I want to be able to provide more opportunities for them to read about and discuss these issues in ways that allow each of them access to the ideas.
I've used NewsELA Pro with my reading/language arts classes in the past. It's a website that features real-world texts about current events. I love it because it provides choice for my students (they can choose from a diverse array of topics), they can read articles at a reading level that provides an appropriate challenge, and--for my English language learners--they can read articles in Spanish. Unfortunately, my school can't afford to purchase NewsELA for my classroom this year.
A NewsELA Pro classroom subscription would help level the playing field for my 8th graders when it comes to reading about current events and becoming more skilled at analyzing non-fiction texts.
I don't believe technology is the savior for our schools, but I do think well-designed tech tools such as NewsELA can play an important role in giving all students access to learning that they deserve.
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