Highlighting helps make students’ thinking visible

What is this lesson component or teaching method?

Highlighting is one type of annotation. Students can track one type of information (e.g., evidence supporting the main idea) by highlighting in one color or several types of information (e.g., main idea, evidence, and conclusions) by highlighting in multiple colors. Highlighting gives teachers a visual view of how well students are interacting with text.

How does Newsela fit into this lesson component or teaching method?

Students use Newsela’s built-in highlighting tool to highlight information as they read. One use of highlighting is that students can track all the instances of a specific type of information in a text. For example, students can track the evidence a writer uses to support an argument by highlighting every piece of evidence in the same color. Another example is that students could track the topic sentence and evidence in each paragraph by highlighting main ideas in yellow and evidence in blue. This may lead students to notice patterns, such as the topic sentence is often the first sentence in a paragraph or evidence often involves quantitative measures. If desired, the teacher could even develop standard highlighting guidelines (e.g., in every text they read, students highlight main ideas in yellow, evidence in blue, and explanations of the significance of evidence in green) that students use when reading any article. Whenever necessary, students can clarify why they highlighted a section by using Newsela’s built-in annotation tool to write comments.

Teachers can also ask students to highlight the evidence for each quiz question. This helps document a student’s thought process, even if the student gets the question wrong.

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