Newsela VS Newsdle for Teaching Spanish Reading | Newsdle
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Newsela VS Newsdle for Teaching Spanish Reading

07/11/22

How should educators teach Spanish reading when textbook content is too basic, but authentic materials are beyond the students’ level? The solution is graded readers. There are a few online options for graded reading in Spanish: for example, Newsdle graded news platform offers a large selection of articles in Spanish to read, and its features are designed to save teachers time and accelerate student learning. Another go-to source for Spanish teachers is Newsela reading material, which covers a wide range of themes and can be adapted for different reading levels.

Many people are interested in a comparison between these platforms, asking questions like: what does Newsela cost, what does it offer that is different from Newsdle, and vice-versa? As we will see, there are key differences between the two platforms. Let’s break it down and examine the pros and cons.

Newsdle at a glance

Newsdle graded news platform has a huge library of leveled texts for teaching Spanish reading. From the Newsdle homepage, users can browse the latest articles (updated daily), or filter by keywords and categories. Articles are available for levels Foundation, Beginner, Lower Intermediate, Upper Intermediate, Advanced, and Advanced Higher, which roughly correspond to CEFR levels. Teachers can easily assign work and monitor student performance (more details on that later).

Newsdle to teach Spanish and French

Newsdle is a valuable tool for Spanish lessons reading: users can listen to the audio while they read, or tap on any word to hear the pronunciation and see a translation.

Newsela at a glance

Newsela reading material is available in English and Spanish. Search by keyword or category, or view text sets to see articles grouped by theme. With the drop-down menus, teachers can select the appropriate reading level and assign work to students. These tools are free. A paid Newsela subscription provides reporting tools and visibility of students’ work, so that teachers can see how their students interacted with the material.

newsela 1

Newsela reading levels can be selected for each text. Higher-level texts contain the same information but in longer sentences and paragraphs, and they use more sophisticated vocabulary.

Newsela VS Newsdle: the key differences

Side-by-side comparison

 

Newsdle

Newsela

Graded reading levels

6 levels from Foundation to Advanced Higher

Filterable by lexile level

New content daily

Yes

No

Free features

Limited

Some

Subscription cost

Custom pricing

Custom pricing

Audio included

Native speaker

Computer generated

Integrated reading and listening activities

Yes - both

Reading quizzes

Writing prompts

No

Yes

One-click dictionary

Yes

No

Vocabulary lists included

Yes

No

Grammar explanations included

Yes

No

Word bank / flashcard system

Yes

No

Assign work automatically

Yes

Yes

Student performance data

Yes

Yes

Desktop and app versions

Yes

Yes

Latin American Spanish also available

Yes

No

French also available

Yes

No

Native speaker audio

One feature loved by Newsdle users is the audio accompanying each article. Newsdle audio is recorded by real native Spanish speakers, and can be paused or skipped at any time. In contrast, Newsela lessons have computer-generated audio with limited playback options.

Integrated listening and reading activities

All Newsdle articles come with interactive reading and listening quizzes. There are multiple activity types such as vocabulary matching, fill the gaps, comprehension questions, grammar questions, and sentence chronology. Upon completion, students and teachers can see exactly how they performed and identify areas for improvement.

Newsdle quizzes

Newsdle quizzes test key vocabulary and grammar points from the article, as well as reading and listening comprehension skills.

Meanwhile, Newsela lessons include short quizzes and writing prompts. These activities deal with the material at a rather superficial level, so teachers will need to create extension activities if they wish to encourage deeper engagement. A Newsela subscription gives teachers full visibility of their students’ work: who viewed the article, how they interacted with the text, and their quiz scores.

Newsela 2

Newsela lessons include a multicolor highlighter tool and inbuilt quizzes to test reading skills.

Integrated vocabulary tools

Newsdle’s word lists and one-click dictionary make Spanish vocabulary easily accessible to students. They will find a list of keywords, proper nouns and idioms at the bottom of the page. Keywords can be saved to the learner’s personal word bank for further study, and they are also tested in the quizzes attached to each article.

Newsdle vocabulary lists

Newsdle provides vocabulary lists with every graded news article.

Newsdle dictionary

Click any word in the text to see a translation, hear the pronunciation, or save it to your vocabulary bank.

Newsdle flashcards

The flashcard system prompts learners to review their saved words at optimal intervals.

In comparison to the above, Newsela’s vocabulary features are limited. Students are able to highlight the text in four different colours, and can add their own notes when highlighting. A Newsela subscription includes a “Power Words” feature, where keywords are clickable to facilitate vocabulary learning in context.

Grammar in context

In addition to vocabulary lists, there are grammar explanations included at the bottom of every Newsdle article, so students can learn grammar in context. (These grammar points are also reinforced in the accompanying quizzes.) Furthermore, the reader can click on any verb in the text and see how to conjugate it in different tenses. Newsela reading materials do not include grammar points.

Newsdle grammar explanations

Grammar points are a key feature in Newsdle articles. Newsela lessons do not include this.

Assign tasks to students

With Newsdle, teachers can easily distribute articles in Spanish to read, along with interactive activities such as reading and listening quizzes. Students will be prompted to complete the assignment by the due date specified. Spanish news lessons are also available as PDFs for teachers to download.

Assigning work Newsdle

Assigning work to students is easy and intuitive.

Access the statistics you want

Within Newsdle teacher dashboard, many kinds of statistics are available, so you can see how your students interacted with the material and how they performed in the quizzes.

Newsdle Teacher Portal

A snapshot of Newsdle’s teacher dashboard.

Supporting teachers

Newsdle provides teachers with a personalised Account Manager, and ensures that any support queries receive a response within 12 hours. Once an account is created, all teachers are encouraged to attend a full Newsdle demo, so that every department member is equipped to get the most out of the platform.

How to use Newsdle for best results

Homework assignments

Newsdle is an ideal platform for assigning reading homework. With the variety of texts available, it’s easy to find a news story that is related to recent class topics. Use the teacher’s dashboard to assign work to students, set a deadline, and review students’ progress using the inbuilt reporting tools.

Vocabulary building

As we’ve seen, there is a list of Spanish keywords accompanying every Newsdle article. Teachers can challenge students to reuse this vocabulary in their own writing and speaking. In addition, use of the Newsdle flashcard review system helps students commit new vocabulary to their long-term memory.

Pronunciation practice

With the availability of native speaker recordings and a one-click dictionary with audio, Newsdle helps attune students’ ears to native pronunciation of Spanish words and phrases. Teachers have reported improvements in their students’ pronunciation of words and sounds that they hear repeatedly in Newsdle articles.

(Further reading: How to Use Newsdle to Learn Spanish)

Other sources of graded Spanish lessons reading material

Newsdle and Newsela have a great selection of features which allow teachers to assign tasks to students and monitor their performance. There are other digital tools available for graded reading in Spanish, but their features are comparatively limited: these include Langster and Beelinguapp, both of which can be downloaded from an app store.

Graded Spanish reading apps

Langster and Beelinguapp both offer a rich selection of non-fiction reading material in Spanish and other languages. They include educational tools such as comprehension quizzes, inbuilt dictionaries, and vocabulary lists. Though they do not provide teachers with oversight of student engagement or performance, they could still be recommended to motivated students looking for additional Spanish reading material.

Leveled reading search engine

LevelText is a search engine for intermediate language learners intended to “bridge the gap” between beginner texts and authentic material. Teachers can search for topics and find Spanish lessons reading material categorised by CEFR level. In a few clicks, the tool will create a custom mini-lesson which highlights difficult vocabulary and provides auto-generated audio and translations.

(Further reading: Spanish Reading Practice Sources for Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Learners)

In conclusion: Newsela VS Newsdle

Newsela and Newsdle are popular sources of current events articles in Spanish. Both platforms offer an impressive range of content spanning different themes and levels. Beginner students, intermediate and advanced learners – as well as Spanish heritage students – are well catered for.

However, on closer examination, Newsela and Newsdle have quite different features and capabilities. Each has its pros and cons, and both require a paid subscription fee in order to access the best content. See what each can offer you by requesting a demo with Newsdle, or sign up for a free account before investing in a Newsela subscription.

As we’ve seen, Newsdle has unique benefits such as:

  • native speaker audio
  • grammar explanations
  • reading and listening activities
  • vocabulary-building tools
  • Latin American language option

All of the above encourage students to engage with the material at a deeper level, as well as helping teachers be more efficient. For a language department that offers Spanish and French, Newsdle is the perfect choice, as it includes both languages.

Whichever platform you use to find graded reading material for Spanish lessons, it’s important to make full use of its features and let students discover the benefits of graded reading online. The more students practise reading in Spanish, the more independent and confident they will become, and the faster their language skills will develop. Integrating online graded reading materials into your toolkit is sure to be a worthwhile choice for you and your students.

Author

Daisy Ward - blogger

Daisy Ward is an experienced online English teacher, writer and content creator with a passion for foreign languages and cultures. Her expertise in effective language-learning strategies is derived from many years in language classrooms, both as a teacher and as a student. Fluent in French and competent in Mandarin Chinese, she attributes much of her success in learning languages to the use of apps and other online tools.  

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