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Curriculum Technology

How a Single App Can Promote Literacy in Your Classroom

"News-O-Matic" can be a useful tool to encourage reading and engage your students.

As educators, we’re always looking for new and exciting ways to inspire our readers and support literacy. “News-O-Matic” is an educational app that provides daily news articles and worldly issues to elementary and middle school readers, giving them a glimpse into the real world and motivation to read.

Why is non-fiction important? Educators agree that reading non-fiction material early on helps children reach appropriate reading levels in later grades. This daily, on-line, non-fiction current events app is fun, easy to use, delivered by grade level, and keeps students reading. And easiest of all, it requires no changes in your physical classroom space.

Touting itself as “The Daily News Experience Just for Kids,” News-O-Matic delivers 21st century news in a fun and engaging way, while promoting literacy at the same time.

Here are some ways you can incorporate “News-O-Matic” into your classroom:

1. Personalize their reading experience

News-O-Matic is an interactive subscription app for iOS and Android that features five “News of the Day” stories with images, videos, maps, and games. The articles are written by journalists and educators, who condense big news stories in a way that young readers can comprehend. With customized lexile levels and built-in assessment quizzes aligned to standards, you can personalize their experience in order to build and strengthen their reading and comprehension skills.

2. Connect with more than text

News-O-Matic allows your students to make meaningful connections with texts, each other, and people around the world. Students from over 150 countries have logged into News-O-Matic in classrooms, libraries, and homes and connected with each other through articles, perspectives, and commentaries. They also have the opportunity to work with leaders like astronauts, athletes, congressmen, and artists, creating their own interview questions and posting their articles that fall into headings such as “Kids in the News,” “Around the World,” “Wacky”, or “Discovery.” Information is provided in a variety of formats and learning styles, and a home edition reinforces concepts.

3. Interact with everything

Articles in “News-O-Matic” are accompanied by sharp, color photos and maps primed with extras, such as timelines, graphics, links within articles to access geography, definitions, videos, and “take action” items. Students have the opportunity to interact with the news by commenting, posting pictures, submitting videos, taking surveys, and participating in online games relating to the news of the day. There are also daily jigsaw puzzles, mystery words, and math facts. A Read-to-Me audio playback app allows students to have text read to them, and Spanish translation audio can assist English Language Learners.

4. Use it every day

How or when can you integrate “News-O-Matic” into your curriculum? Here are a few easy ideas:

  • Morning meeting
  • Discovering main ideas and details
  • Current events of the day
  • Independent reading time
  • Geography enrichment
  • Creating fast recaps or summarizing
  • Small group or shared reading
  • Vocabulary development
  • Week in review – monitoring recurring topics, summarizing main idea
  • Comprehension and assessment
  • Reward time
  • Choice during independent reading time

Research says informational texts promote student success. News-O-Matic will give your students a window of real-world events and make reading fun at the same time.

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