Smithsonian’s TweenTribune website may look like the often-cited Newsela.com, and in many ways, it is. Both contain current events. Both include articles that are written to reflect multiple Lexile Levels, which in turn help teachers differentiate instruction, and students understand at their current reading levels.
What sets TweenTribune apart, however, is its writers: 99% of the content is written by students, then selected by professional journalists for publication. Teachers have the option of registering their own students to assist in this endeavor (in fact, over 100,000 teachers have registered thus far). Students can post comments to this site, and their teachers can moderate these comments before they are published.
In this age of new literacies, where students are engaging and making meaning with technology like never before, why not give students both the chance to alter their reading levels, and, even more importantly, to play a hand in shaping the communication of current events for an authentic audience?
-Maria Vlahiotis, Literacy Specialist, ACOE Core Learning