USA Today has now partnered with the classroom reading service Curriculet to provide news with assessments for students K-12, in addition to books.
Curriculet is a free digital library of more than 1000 popular books that now will also provide USA Today news articles embedded with assessments, writes Betsy Corcoran of edSurge. These assessments, which focus on both specific skills and Common Core standards, develop literacy skills and build knowledge and are written by teachers. The tool tracks how well students do on these “curriculets,” allowing teachers to see students’ achievement, assess progress, track time, and identify where students might need extra help.
Articles also include annotations and media, and three versions for elementary, middle, and high school reading levels.
Jason Singer, the co-founder and CEO of Curriculet, started out as an English teacher. He earned a B.A. in English and World History from Pitzer College and an M.A. in Secondary Education from the University of Mississippi before founding Curriculet, which aims to allow teachers to expand the reading they can assign in the classroom to improve engagement. He says of this new collaboration with USA Today that:
This partnership provides teachers and students access to engaging and current nonfiction, complementing our library of popular young adult literature. By offering these news articles, we can challenge students with various levels of complexity and engage them in real world events.
For the first time, we are helping schools, teachers, students, and parents capture every reading moment in school whether that be reading the news, a novel, or a science lab.
The service is used in an average month by 450,000 students and 50,000 teachers in 115 countries. Teachers particularly like the ability to bring together works on a theme. Singer says:
You can pair readings like today’s articles about the 50th Anniversary march on Selma with poetry like Still I Rise, primary texts like Letter from a Birmingham Jail, and a novel like The Watsons Go to Birmingham all on a single platform.
Summit Public Schools in California has given 2,000 students Google Chromebooks and uses Curriculet to set weekly goals and monitor progress. This frees up teachers to support students who need individual attention.
Orion Jones of Big Think writes that educational psychologist Chris Hulleman agrees that technology is effective in classrooms because of the ability to set unique and individual goals. He says:
Differentiation is vital to setting effective goals. You can’t just do one thing and every child is going to learn. Kids come with background knowledge and skill levels.
According to Thomas Shields on the Curriculet blog, the service is free for both students and teachers for 45 days. Beginning this fall, a year-long subscription will be $4.99 per student.