Elementary Classes and Content

We are mindful that our audience consists largely of readers who are not yet mature adults. As such, Newsela labels articles by the maturity of the content, in addition to restricting some mature content. Students in classes marked Elementary will not be shown certain articles while browsing or searching on Newsela. Teachers and caregivers still have access to all of Newsela’s content, and they are always able to assign non-elementary articles to their students just as they would any other article. Assigning articles ensures that students will be able to view the content.

Students in Elementary classes will see only articles that Newsela editors have selected for younger readers based on whether they are likely to have the background knowledge and maturity to understand the article. 

Elementary content does not include potentially scary or sensitive material and does not require much background knowledge to understand.

None of our content contains expletives, gratuitous sexual content, or graphic descriptions of violence outside of primary source content. When any of the above appears in a primary source, we use an editor's note or sensitivity tag to appropriately caution teachers and students and block this content from students in classes marked Elementary

Teachers of elementary classes still see all of Newsela’s content. They can limit their view to these articles by using the Suggested For Elementary filters on the Advanced Search page.

If you want to share a non-Elementary article with students in an Elementary class, you can do so by assigning the article.

Maturity Level Filter

Selecting maturity levels with the Suggested For filter will limit your results to articles best-suited for given age ranges, categorized into grade bands. Articles are not limited to one grade band and many of our articles span multiple.

  • Lower Elementary School: Articles best suited for grades 2-4, with visual supports for comprehension. They are chosen for younger readers and exclude articles that require extensive background knowledge. Scary or sensitive subject matter is never included in Lower Elementary content recommendations. The reading levels of these articles range from grades 2-6. 

  • Upper Elementary School: Articles support readers in grades 4-6, and include a single main idea. These articles may require more background knowledge than Lower Elementary, but use accessible comparisons. Scary or sensitive subject matter is never included in Lower Elementary content recommendations. Reading levels include various Lexiles between 2-12.

  • Middle School: Articles that introduce growing complexity and contentiousness. These may require some background knowledge and incorporate an increased awareness of global events and issues. All are available at a range of reading levels between grades 2 and 12.

  • High School: Articles in this group require background knowledge and context we believe most younger students may not have. Articles may also be either too tragic or complex for younger students. Teachers and caretakers know best and they still are able to assign any maturity of article to any student of their choosing. All are available at a range of reading levels between grades 2 and 12.

Newsela has articles curated for younger readers, typically grades 2-6. When a teacher sets their classroom to elementary, only Elementary and middle school articles appear for students as they navigate and browse Newsela. 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.