Building News Literacy: Lessons for Teaching Critical Thinking Skills in Elementary and Middle Schools

Libraries Unlimited. Jan. 2021. 170p. pap. $45. ISBN 9781440875151.
Though news literacy isn’t a new area of interest for librarians, it’s a critical one, and this informative and accessible volume offers a concise exploration of the topic, along with a variety of lessons for use with upper elementary and middle school students. School librarian Bober defines news and news literacy and discusses why news literacy is important and why librarians should make connections between this topic and other literacies across subject areas. The bulk of the book consists of 21 lessons targeting skills such as distinguishing between fact and opinion; evaluating reliability and credibility; close reading; sourcing and contextualizing news; corroborating information; analyzing word choice, voice, and bias; and reacting to and sharing news stories. Each lesson includes objectives, an overview of the activity, an exit slip to assess student learning, ideas for differentiation, and recommended historical news articles, though the author also offers suggestions for substituting current news articles. The lessons follow a similar format and rely on graphic organizers. Lessons are detailed enough to guide readers through each activity but general enough to be adapted to work with any number of news topics.
VERDICT Practical and user-friendly, with lesson ideas that are ready to implement.

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