Thing 14: News Literacy

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


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, clickbait and even 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 all makes it 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.


Readings & Resources

Lesson Sources


  • Pulitzer Center Lesson Builder : The Pulitzer Center’s “educational programs provide students with fresh information on global issues, help them think critically about the creation and dissemination of news, and inspire them to become active consumers and producers of information.” The lesson builder helps you create lesson plans around the content provided by the Center and pull in other resources as well. Example lesson: The Geography of Poverty
  • 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.
  • News Explorer – Another tool to explore news visually, make connections between stories. Review on NeverEndingSearch.
  • 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.
  • 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 (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
  • 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.
  • Tech Tools – A selection of tools that might be useful for students to create news stories. From
Fake News Identification Tips
Fake 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 for the post.
  • Return to the lesson page on the CanvasLMS site.
  • Use the SUBMIT ASSIGNMENT button in the CanvasLMS page and paste in your URL.

*Only for students participating in the workshop for PD credit hours through the Canavas LMS system.



6 thoughts on “Thing 14: News Literacy

  1. Link doesn’t seem to be working for:
    Beyond the Bubble: Building Global Literacy in Our Students : Katie Day, AASL Knowledge Quest May/June 2016. Part of the special issue on Literacies

  2. early 2017 webinars on “fake news”
    CNN Student News: Daily news program for older students

    CNN Student News helps you get your students involved in current events. Student News videos are hip and directed towards a younger crowd. Each daily video is 10 minutes, making it easily digestible, perfect for those with shorter attention spans. (for aasl members)

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