The Debrief

How Student Engagement Informed Our New ELA, Science, and Social Studies Products

The Newsela Team
Jan 14, 2020

As we enter 2020, our team at Newsela is more inspired and committed than ever to providing authentic content that’s accessible for every student, and that’s why we’re thrilled about the launch of our three new products: Newsela ELA, Newsela Science, and Newsela Social Studies.

The goal of these products is to help curriculum leaders across the country provide teachers and students with content that’s active and engaging, relatable and real. We want to empower teachers to select the best content for their students while giving administrators the assurance that all content is vetted and aligned to standards.

So when it came to shaping our new English Language Arts (ELA), Science, and Social Studies products, we turned to our data on how teachers and students use Newsela for insights and direction. The depth of content usage by teachers—and the high levels of engagement shown by students—gave us confidence in framing new products around these core subject areas.

Here’s a look at engagement with our content in the 2019-2020 school year so far:


  • 310,520 teachers either printed or assigned an article to their students 

  • 1,180,640 teachers viewed their data


  • 2,433,810 students read and took 10,719,126 standards-aligned quizzes (all of our articles have associated quizzes that are aligned to one of 8 Common Core Anchor Standards)

  • 4,139,985 students read 157,657,584 Social Studies articles

  • 2,128,419 students read 45,270,052 Science articles

  • 205,210 students collected 562,198 power words

  • 1,071,958 students made 18,457,519 annotations

  • 815,421 students wrote  2,220,816 responses

The articles teachers and students found most compelling also reflect the desire for real-world content that’s authentic, engaging, and relevant to student’s lives. A health article about the student vaping crisis tops the list of both our most-viewed and most-endorsed articles of Fall 2019, and other articles on both top 10 lists address initiatives to keep teens off their phones at school and  young people demanding action on climate change

When it comes to Science and Social Studies in particular, the most-viewed articles of Fall 2019 reflect Newsela’s goal to inspire students to explore the wonders of science and engage them with issues they care about. A science article about the discovery of water on a planet outside our solar system drew more than 85,000 views, and a story about the “dog mayor” of a California town found a spot near the top of the list with a playful riff on politics and public service.

10 Most Viewed Articles - Fall 2019 

  1. student-vaping-crisis

  2. hurricane-dorian-bahamas

  3. dog-mayor-california

  4. teen-greets-brother

  5. keeping-teens-off-phones

  6. brazil-amazon-fires

  7. youth-climate-protest

  8. instagram-cat

  9. student-inspired-shirt

  10. Greta-UN-climate-summit

20 Most Endorsed Articles - Fall 2019

  1. student-vaping-crisis

  2. hurricane-dorian-bahamas

  3. keeping-teens-off-phones

  4. brazil-amazon-fires

  5. youth-climate-protest

  6. student-inspired-shirt

  7. brothers-candles-charity

  8. Greta-UN-climate-summit

  9. teens-trick-treating

  10. 8-year-old-barber

  11. kids-hungry-lunch

  12. rocky-water-planet

  13. climate-change-oceans

  14. boy-crying-classmate

  15. insect-ice-cream

  16. plastic-food-packaging

  17. playstation-5

  18. girls-cyberbullied-more

  19. hurricane-dorian-dogs

  20. girl-saves-gorillas

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