Accessible reading and writing activities: a new weekly roundup for teachers

If you’re a regular Times reader, you already know that the profusion of articles, essays, photojournalism, graphics, videos and podcasts that we publish daily means there is no easy answer. at the question “What is the reading level of the New York Times?

In fact, as The Times expands its reporting to include new formats like “burst”, shown in the image above – and in these articles on Western droughts, how to eat less sugar and why Simone Biles is the GOAT – we think this is more important than ever for teachers to understand.

This year, The Learning Network is committed to making the most of these new formats to accommodate a wider range of learners on our site and on The Times in general. We want to show teachers and students – who may have assumed that all of the Times reports seem more like that, from 1865, that this, from 2021 – that there is something in the diary for every reader, every day.

To help you out, we’re launching a new feature called Accessible Activities. In each Wednesday edition, we will feature five student activities that draw on highly visual reporting in The Times sections. These activities will also provide additional scaffolding that will invite all kinds of learners to grapple with what might be unfamiliar language or concepts. Some of these will be features teachers of all levels already love, like our What’s in This Picture? exercise – and some will be new.

For example, if you watch our first lesson of the day to follow this format, you can see that we have included some simplified prompts and instructions; a printable PDF version of the article for students to annotate; and a new vocabulary section. We will be creating these kinds of lessons on a regular basis, drawing not only on new storytelling formats like “bursts” but also on more traditional reporting from The Times.

Want to take a look? We have already published our first and second editions of Accessible Activities, and we’d love to hear from you.

As the school year continues, we plan to refine both the summary and the features themselves with your answers. So please submit a comment here or by emailing us at [email protected] Then look for our next summary of activities available on Wednesday, September 29 and each Wednesday thereafter for the remainder of the school year.

Scott R. Banks