Teaching with Power Words

This article will give an overview of Power Words from the teacher perspective.

  • Power Words in the Newsela teacher Binder
  • How Power Words are selected for each student
  • What words do students see?
  • Strategies to help teach Power Words

Power Words is an add-on to Newsela PRO. With a Power Words license:

  • Students can do vocabulary practice activities (in addition to the reading comprehension Quiz) after reading an article to build deep understanding of the words they encountered.
  • Students collect points from Power Word activities and save their words on their individual Word Wall.
  • Teachers have a new Power Words tab in the PRO Binder which shows student and class level vocabulary progress throughout the year.  

Power Words in the Newsela teacher Binder

For teachers with an active Power Words license, there is an added tab in the teacher Binder called Power Words

Here, you can see how students are doing, at a glance, in one or all of your classrooms on Newsela. You can filter by class on the left side of the page.

On this page, you can see...

  • Activity Item Average shows the average activity score and total number of vocabulary items completed. Each Power Words article includes a 10 item activity. Scores are captured here when Students complete all 10 items.
  • Average Word Level represents the grade level of the words that the student practiced, not the article level. Articles may contain words from higher levels which we provide scaffolding for with the definitions included in the article. For this reason, the average word level may skew higher than their reading level.
  • Words Practiced shows the total number of head words that the student has practiced. Practicing variations of the word counts as one word. For example, if the student encounters “surrounded” in the first article and “surrounding” in the second article, it will count as 1 word practiced. Similarly, if they practice the same exact word in two articles in two different contexts, it will count as 1 word practiced.
  • Newsela’s Yearly Word Goal is a target number that Newsela has created to help Teachers measure their students’ progress throughout the year. We set this number to 150 because this is a good target for students. Over the course of a 30 week school year, they will have practiced about 450 words. Words will appear multiple times with varying tenses and in different contexts. We can’t predict exactly how many total words the student will practice, but 150 is a reasonable target to measure against.

When you click into an individual student, you'll see a list of the words they've completed activities towards, and how they're doing overall.

  • Power Word shows the word that the student has practiced
  • Word Level represents the reading level of the word
  • Activity Item Average shows the number of items the student has practiced for that word along with their average score
  • Last Seen tells you when they last encountered each word

Clicking on a word, opens up even more information.

  • You can see the article and the definition of the word as it was presented to the student
  • The two dots represent activity items so you can see how the student performed on each word
  • Clicking the date in the Last Seen column will lead you to the Teacher Review Page, which shows how the student performed on each individual activity.

How Power Words are selected for each student

Newsela’s recommended Power Words articles are customized for each Student’s individual learning path. Upon completing an activity, a new article will be introduced into their queue. The next article will contain some recently practiced words along with some new ones. This way, students have an opportunity to practice the same words across multiple articles. For this reason, each student’s path will vary through the course of the year depending on their individual reading level and the words with which they struggled most. By the end of the year, your students will encounter many of the same words.

If you prefer to have your whole class focus on a set of words, try assigning an article directly. We’ll provide a recommended article to you each week in your binder. Depending on which level they read, they may still encounter some different words because each article has different words in it, but more of your class will share the same words if you assign an article directly to them.

What words do students see?

This depends on how you choose to use Power Words with your students. There are two ways for Teachers to use Power Words with their class. We find students learn best when you do both.

Group Instruction

If you assign articles directly, then most of your class will read the same article and see the same words. Depending on which level of the article they read, they will encounter the same words. Some words are shared between levels but they will typically vary by level.

Independent Reading

If students are reading independently, then our recommendations will be customized for them. They will see the same words throughout the year, but not necessarily at the same time.

Use the Power Words binder tab to view which words your class is practicing by clicking on each individual student’s name.

Strategies to help teach Power Words

To help teachers facilitate class or group activities for vocabulary instruction, we’ve added PRO teacher resources for some Power Words articles. You can find this set of articles here. We will be adding a new one each week. 

Let’s Talk

Please provide your information below, and a member of our team will call you right back. Available during the business hours of 8am–7pm ET