by Bethany Johnsen
In a world increasingly flooded with information since the advent of the Internet, it is vital for students to understand that not everything they see or read is true. But of course, indiscriminate skepticism of media does not make a responsible citizen—students must be taught the critical tools they need to evaluate the credibility of sources and distinguish fact from fiction. Despite the recent attention given to the topic of high school news literacy, a study from the Center for Information & Research on Civil Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE) found that half of civics teachers devote little time to news literacy.
Fortunately, there are some solid resources available for teachers who want to devote lessons or a unit to this important life skill, and many of them apply to other subject areas and align with the Common Core State Standards.
- PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs has developed a curriculum consisting of three flexible units with 10 lesson plans that are sure to strengthen your students' digital and news literacy competencies.
- The American Press Institute offers a variety of youth news literacy resources, including a curriculum for middle or high school students.
- The Center for Media Literacy's MediaLit Kit covers the theory, practice, and implementation of media literacy for educators, and includes much-needed units for middle school students on topics like deconstructing food advertising and challenging violence in the media.
- Of course, students are never too young to begin learning media literacy, and The University of Rhode Island's Harrington School of Communication and Media provides a three-volume curriculum that includes units for elementary as well as middle and secondary school.