Newsela is a website with hundreds of news articles targeted to schoolchildren, and it has raised $1.2 million in venture financing to bring even more information to kids.
Remember when you were at school and learning to read or master a new language? Reading daily news articles is fun, informative, and certainly helpful. Newsela’s team believes that it’s a great way to build reading comprehension, critical thinking skills, and keep students abreast of what’s going on in the world.
Newsela is a step ahead of just perusing news articles on the Internet. The algorithm on the backend understands each students’ reading level. It offers articles that is just right for an individual, and an easier or more challenging version of that article is just a click away. It also offers quizzes that are aligned with the Common Care, a set of educational standards that define what students need to know at each grade level.
What impressed investors is the pace of Newsela’s growth. The company only launched in June, and it’s already used by teachers in all 50 states. According to a press release, 400 new teachers and 2,000 students sign up each day.
“Teachers know that their kids need to read much more nonfiction in order to be ready for the Common Core and life,” said Newsela founder and chief executive Matthew Gross in a statement. “The dull K12 content and cookie-cutter tools that teachers have been given just aren’t cutting it. Reading nonfiction should be enthralling, relevant and personalized, and that’s what Newsela delivers.”
The startup raised its funding from NewSchools Venture Fund, which specializes in education technology, and Kapor Capital. Newsela is also a winner of a Gates Foundation Literacy Courseware Challenge grant, and a graduate of the first cohort from Kaplan’s ed-tech accelerator.