Framework for Teaching News Literacy

Grades: 4-6, 7-9, 10-12+

The mission of the News Literacy Project is to develop active consumers of news and information able to determine the credibility of news and other content, identify different types of information, and use the standards of authoritative, fact-based journalism to determine what to trust, share and act on. The ultimate goal is to equip learners to become self-sufficient and productive with news and have an equal opportunity to participate in the civic life of their communities and the country. 

The Framework for Teaching News Literacy is designed to support educators in working toward this mission by providing common standards, essential questions, and knowledge/skills objectives, along with suggested performance tasks and learning activities. Our framework can be used for integrating news literacy into existing curriculum, or as the basis for creating stand-alone courses or units.   

The NLP Framework is organized around the 3-stage, “backward design” process of Understanding by Design (UbD)®, a widely used curriculum design framework developed by Wiggins and McTighe (2005). UbD focuses on building the conceptual understandings (the “big ideas”) associated with becoming news-literate and preparing students to apply their learning in authentic ways. UbD connects best practices in planning, teaching and assessing based on research in cognitive psychology and validated by studies on student achievement. It ensures educational value by offering time to teach and time to learn through deepened understanding with clearly articulated desired results. 

News literacy standards

NLP uses five primary standards to define the core competencies students need to be news-literate. These standards invoke a combination of knowledge, skills and mindsets that are required to recognize credible information, avoid being exploited by misinformation and make informed, empowered choices.

  • Standard 1: Students distinguish news from other types of information and can recognize both traditional and nontraditional advertisements.
  • Standard 2: Students acknowledge the importance of the First Amendment in American democracy and a free press to an informed public.
  • Standard 3: Students understand why professional and ethical standards are necessary to produce quality journalism, and they can apply understanding of those standards to discern credible information and sources for themselves.
  • Standard 4: Students demonstrate increased critical habits of mind, including effective verification skills and the ability to detect misinformation and faulty evidence.
  • Standard 5: Students express and exercise civic responsibility by seeking, sharing and producing credible information as effective participants in a democracy.

For tips getting started with this framework, view this introductory webinar.

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