When it comes to choosing an online platform designed to improve reading comprehension, the most comprehensive and most-loved choices are Newsela and ReadTheory. They share similar goals for ELA teachers and students, but they also have key differences in their approach and content. Check out the quick visual overview, and then let’s dive into the key differences below!


  ReadTheory    Newsela
Continuously Adaptive x
On-Demand Diagnostics x
Auto-Assigned Differentiation x
Real-time feedback for students    For an extra cost
Real-time Reporting
Holiday Themed Content
News Articles x
Printable Workbooks x
Cost $ $$
ESSER Approved


It’s clear that Newsela and ReadTheory both offer robust solutions for improving reading comprehension skills. Now, let’s explore the key differences between these platforms in greater detail.

1. Content Focus

Newsela: Primarily focuses on providing news articles and informational texts, such as current events, tailored to different reading levels. The content is updated often to reflect recent news and developments.

ReadTheory: Offers a broader range of literary and informational texts, including fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. It aims to provide a diverse selection of reading materials to engage students while improving comprehension skills.


2. Adaptability

Newsela: Adapts articles to five different reading levels, allowing students to access the same content at their individual reading proficiency. It offers multiple reading levels for each article, along with comprehension quizzes and writing prompts.

ReadTheory: Continuously adapts using advanced technology that auto-assigns differentiated passages to students based on their performance. As students progress, the platform automatically provides increasingly challenging texts to continuously give students the right balance of challenge and support.


3. Assessments

Newsela: Offers quizzes and writing prompts after each article to assess comprehension and critical thinking skills. 

ReadTheory: Uses multiple-choice quizzes and writing prompts to assess comprehension, and tracks students’ progress over time. The platform includes personalized recommendations for further practice based on students’ performance on quizzes. 


4. Real Time Feedback

Newsela: For an extra cost, it provides immediate feedback to students and teachers, highlighting areas for improvement.

ReadTheory: ReadTheory’s free package provides instant feedback for students as they practice. Students also get their own performance dashboard on ReadTheory so they can be accountable for their own progress. Teachers can review performance by Lexile Level and Grade in real-time. For an additional cost, Teachers can also gain access to more detailed reporting on topics areas like ELA Curriculum Standards.


5. Customization and Integration

Newsela: Newsela offers customization options for teachers to create assignments, track student progress, and align content with curriculum standards. It integrates with learning management systems (LMS) and supports classroom use.

ReadTheory: ReadTheory provides teachers with tools to create and manage student accounts, assign readings, and track progress. Their premium account holders can launch in-class competitions, connect multiple teacher accounts, access a printable worksheet collection complete with holiday-themed activities, and more. 

While both Newsela and ReadTheory improve students’ reading comprehension skills, they differ in areas such as their content focus, adaptability, assessment methods, and customization options. The choice between the two platforms depends on the specific needs of your classroom, and of course your budget. Teachers, students, and parents can sign up for a free ReadTheory account here! It’s important to note,  often times Newsela and ReadTheory will be used in conjunction with each other, using Newsela for timely articles and ReadTheory for continuously adaptive practice and engagement. We hope this article helps you navigate your options! 

Written by Multiple Authors,

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