Elementary Classes and Content

We organize content on our platform into grade bands to help teachers determine what content meets the needs of their classroom and to help ensure students do not find content that might be too sensitive or inappropriate for their grade level.  Teachers and caregivers accounts are always able to view all content they have an active license for regardless of the maturity level of the content.

Students in Elementary classes will only be able to see articles that are deemed appropriate for Elementary classrooms.  Newsela editors determine whether or not an article is appropriate for elementary classrooms based on the maturity and background knowledge required to understand the article. If you want to share a non-Elementary article with students in your Elementary classroom, you can do so by assigning the article. Assigning an article enables a student to view the article regardless of its designated maturity level. None of our content contains expletives, gratuitous sexual content, or graphic descriptions of violence outside of primary source documents. When any of the above appears in a primary source document, we provide a warning via an editor’s note and a sensitive content tag.

Maturity Level Filter

Selecting maturity levels with the “Maturity Level” filter will limit your results to articles that we have designated for the specified grade band

  • Lower Elementary School: These are articles best suited for grades 2-4, often with visual supports for comprehension. They are chosen for younger readers and do not require  extensive background knowledge. Scary or Sensitive subject matter is never included in content that is marked as Lower Elementary.  Lower Elementary content is available at a range of reading levels between 2-6. 

  • Upper Elementary School: Articles best suited for readers in grades 4-6. These articles typically include a single main idea and sometimes require background knowledge. Scary or sensitive subject matter is never included in content deemed appropriate for Upper Elementary classrooms.  Upper Elementary content is available at a range of reading levels between grades 2 and 12.

  • Middle School: Articles best suited for grades 6-8. These articles may require background knowledge and are intended to facilitate awareness of global events and issues. Middle School content is available at a range of reading levels between grades 2 and 12.

  • High School: Articles in this group typically requires background knowledge and maturity and are often too complex for younger students.  We believe that Teachers and caretakers know their students best and so they still are able to assign any maturity of article to any student of their choosing.  High School content is available at a range of reading levels between grades 2 and 12. are available at a range of reading levels between grades 2 and 12.



Newsela has articles curated for Elementary readers. When a teacher sets their classroom to elementary, students in that classroom will only be able to discover articles that are appropriate for Lower and Upper Elementary readers.  Teachers can continue to assign articles regardless of their recommended age group to students in elementary classes.

To set a class as Elementary

  1. Navigate to your classes tab by clicking your initials in the upper right, and selecting the Classes tab.

  2. Create or sync a class, if you have not yet done so.

  3. In your list of classes, you will see an Elementary column in your list of classes, and a toggle for each class. 

  4. Click the toggle button to turn on or off the elementary setting. By default, all classes created for grades 2-5 will be set to Elementary.