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Middle School Uses Practical Tools for News Literacy

Middle School Uses Practical Tools for News Literacy

Many teachers shared news articles in the classroom even before the Common Core standards required continual examination of students' non-fiction mastery. However, some educators struggle to find the best articles to share and formalized news literacy programs are few and far between. The Digital Resource Center at Stony Brook University's Center for News Literacy offers some great material for those wishing to improve their news literacy lessons.

Rory O'Connor, center director, recently shared his best tools for teachers to use when teaching their students news literacy. 

“'News Literacy' is an emerging discipline that empowers students to use analytical thinking skills to judge the reliability and credibility of news reports and information sources," he said in an article in The New York Times. "It asks teachers to 'reinvent current events' so that learning about the news goes beyond expanding awareness of events and becomes a real-world critical-thinking activity."

O'Connor highlights a New York City public middle school, that teamed up with the Center for News Literacy at Stony Brook University, for a program to "encourage students to become smarter readers and analysts."

"In its curriculum, the school stresses concepts like the need to evaluate information and sources," he said. "Each week the sixth, seventh and eighth graders at I.S. 303 study the concepts and learn how to apply them to current stories in the news."

O'Connor offers readers ways teachers can implement news literacy in the classroom, such as starting with a news article for the students to read. 

"As students read the article, they highlight sources and the information attributed to them," he said. "They might use a blue pencil to mark the source’s name and a green pencil to mark the information they provide. Then, they can determine how reliable each source is, and therefore the information attributed to her or him. Students can rate each source for reliability using the Imvain checklist."

The class, O'Connor said, can then "discuss which sources they think seem most reliable and why, and they can consider possible biases that sources might have, based on their job title or background."

"News literacy has become a crucial information-age skill set for all of us — but especially young people," he said. "It helps determine how we know what we know, who will decide what we think, and how we can make convincing and credible arguments to others."

See how New York City's Intermediate School 303 teaches news literacy in the classroom:

Read the full story. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor

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