I have spent the last 25 years providing consultation and professional development to school districts for students with autism and other low incidence disabilities. When the teachers I met started showing me News‑2‑You when it was first published 20 years ago, I was excited about its potential to fill an important need for this population, combining rich nonfiction reading experiences with leveled supports.
Today, as part of n2y’s total classroom solution anchored by Unique Learning System, News‑2‑You offers new ways to deepen and broaden students’ understanding of cross-curricular topics presented in both weekly editions and Breaking News features. So, I thought I would share some reasons why I recommend News‑2‑You to my clients.
1. Connects Students to the World
The top reason for recommending News‑2‑You is that it connects readers with the world around them through multiple levels of accessible, symbol-supported text. For many students, newspapers are something they hear about but may not be able to adequately access or comprehend. Having access to an age-appropriate online newspaper and accompanying activities makes current events more tangible, which allows students to join the discourse about their world and practice academics at the same time.
2. Differentiated for the Skills of Your Students
Whether your students need the help of visual symbols or simplified sentences, News‑2‑You provides access through four levels of symbol-supported text plus a fifth, text-only version. In addition, n2y’s iDocs provide a text to speech option for all versions, and printable pages support classrooms requiring hard copies. In other words, it’s easy to meet the needs of every student with News‑2‑You!
3. Helps Students Acquire Content for Conversation
One area of difficulty for many students with autism is conversational skills—specifically, generating topics that fit in with what their peers are talking about and interested in.
From breaking news to sports and world events, each edition of News‑2‑You introduces and exposes students to conversational content. They can take newly learned topics, vocabulary and information outside the classroom and into social settings for age-appropriate exchanges with peers.
4. Builds Reading Comprehension
Many of the students I work with, in particular those with autism, struggle with reading comprehension. In the field, we have limited curricula that address this need, so I’m always on the lookout for solutions that emphasize understanding text. The worksheets and activities that align with each edition of News‑2‑You provide a direct focus on students’ comprehension of the material. Like the texts themselves, these materials are differentiated to meet the needs of students with varied ability levels.
While there are many additional reasons to recommend News‑2‑You—like Joey’s Locker games and activities, the connections to online resources and more—the benefits and resources outlined above are critical assets for any teacher working with students who have language and learning challenges.
Want to see how News‑2‑You can engage your students in current events while building ELA skills and sparking conversation? Download a sample to try with your class.Get Sample