Thing 12: News Literacy

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news literacy “News Literacy the ability to use critical thinking skills to judge the reliability and credibility of news reports and information sources.” (source)


Search for a hot news topic via Google or Bing and in an instant you’ll be inundated with news stories from local and national news sources, well known and obscure bloggers sharing their points of view, international news coverage, satire sites, click-bait and “fake news”. With so many news sources available online and in print, it’s more challenging than ever to judge the reliability, accuracy and point of view of many resources. Which makes it all the more important than ever to help students develop news literacy skills.

Teaching news literacy skills is a great opportunity for cross-discipline collaborations. Language arts for reading, comprehension and writing skills. Social studies for close examination of history, government and society. Math, science and arts for understanding and creating data, charts and infographics. It also provides a wonderful opportunity to help broaden students perspectives on the world by examining different cultures and points of view.

The Problem with Fake News (and how our students can solve it) (source)


Readings & Resources

“News” Sources – Some interesting lists of misleading, satirical, etc. “news” sites. Have students review some of the sites and assess them for themselves.

Lesson Sources


  • AllSides – “Unlike regular news services, AllSides exposes bias and provides multiple angles on the same story so you can quickly get the full picture, not just one slant.” Terrific resource!  Read Joyce Valenza’s detailed review.
  • Media Literacy E-Resources | Reference 2018 – Updated list of tools to help your students hone their media literacy skills.
  • Top 10 sites to help students check their facts – More top fact checking sites compiled by ISTE.
  • Blue Feed, Red Feed – See Liberal Facebook and Conservative Facebook, Side by Side. Facebook often confirms our own bias and opinions. Use this tool to see what others are seeing.
  • Factitious – Fun game to test your news skills. Fake or real?
  • Break Your Own News – Generate your own fake headine graphics!
  • Newsmap – Fascinating visual representation of news stories. Aggregates news stories from many sources. The more news articles there are around a topic, the larger that topic appears on the screen. Compare what’s of interest/concern in 15 countries.
  • Listenwise : “Listenwise provides standards-aligned lesson plans and daily current events based on a curated collection of real world audio stories. We make it easy for teachers to bring authentic voices and engaging non-fiction to ELA, Social Studies, and STEM classrooms. Teach your students to listen with the power of public radio!” Free and Premium options. Includes Socrative quizzes for many of the news stories. Listenwise: Bringing World-Class Podcasts to the Classroom
  • Newsela and Newsela Elementary : Publishes news articles from major sources, but written at 5 different reading levels. Newsela Elementary has a slightly smaller set of articles that don’t include mature topics. Many additional features to help teach news literacy and engage students. Free and Pro accounts. Spanish language articles too.  (Review from EdSurge)
  • NewsOMatic : News app for kids grades 2-6 (Browser, iOS and Android) Stories are presented in an engaging manner, lots of graphics, maps, puzzles, etc. Personal subscription is about $20 year. Educational version is also by subscription. One of AASL Best Apps 2013 (Review on EdShelf)
  • Teaching Kids News : A news roundup for grades 2-8
  • Swiipe: News That Knows You  (review) – (rAn iOS app oriented at teens. Displays headlines from a variety of news sources, swipe to read or delete. One of AASL Best Websites 2018
  • Youngzine : Another news roundup site aimed at grades K-8. One of AASL Best Websites 2013
  • Kids news round-up : Joyce Valenza summarizes a ton of great tools.
  • Rewordify : Trying to simplify a complex text? Copy and paste it into rewordify. Takes complex words and rephrases them. Not fool-proof, but does a pretty good job. Options for level of complexity. Also creates vocabulary games. (thanks to Cheryl Toomey for sharing this resource and the next one in resource in last year’s Cool Tools workshop)
  • Readability Score : Handy tool for checking the reading level of a text. Limited use per day with free version.
Fake News Identification TipsFake News Identification Tips



Each of you will have different interests to explore with this topic.  Some ideas to explore:

  • Read a selection of articles, summarize, react and share your opinions in your blog post.
  • Explore the lesson plan ideas and select material for your own teaching. Share your ideas and resources in your blog post.
  • Try out some of the services listed in the Tools section and share how you might use them in your own teaching.
  • Anything else that interests you about this topic.


  • Write & publish your blog post.
  • Copy the URL (webpage address) for your post.
  • Return to your Google Classroom, find the assignment page for the lesson you just completed and follow the directions for turning in and sharing your work.

*Only for students participating in the workshop for PD credit hours through the Google Classroom.

5 thoughts on “Thing 12: News Literacy

  1. this is super helpful! I’m a librarian at a university & am prepping a session on fake news for middle school students.

    might I also suggest: “Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning”
    Wineburg, Sam and McGrew, Sarah and Breakstone, Joel and Ortega, Teresa for the Stanford History Education Group. Posted on November 22, 2016.

    • Thanks Stephanie – that’s an interesting report. Do you know if they shared all their assessments somewhere? I took a quick look at their website, but didn’t see the other assessments. Good luck with your session!

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