National News Literacy Week: how a local district teaches students about news literacy

National News Literacy Week
Posted at 7:02 AM, Jan 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-27 16:41:25-05

SOUTHERN COLORADO — It's the third annual National News Literacy Week, which is a week all about creating awareness on how to separate fact from fiction when consuming news. Meanwhile, one local school district is educating students about news literacy, and it's something they do all year long.

At Pueblo D60, there is a district-wide curriculum called "Common Sense Education." It's taught to all students in the district at every grade level.

What is taught in each grade looks a little bit different. In elementary school, it focuses on teaching a healthy balance of being online and being offline. In middle school, students learn about their digital footprint and how to cite information correctly. In high school, students are taught how to identify bias and false information in news.

"As we get older, we're talking to students about bias in the media and what is fake. Whether it's a photo-shopped image they're trying to decipher or if it's a news story. We want to make sure they're going to actual sources and not getting caught up in some sort of clickbait or something that might be dis-information," said Dalton Sprouse, the PIO for Pueblo D60. "We also think talking about bias is important. Every single one of us has some sort of bias, whether it's the types of clothes we wear or the sports we like, it also has to do with what we consume for media."

Being a responsible consumer of news is also making sure news stories are vetted and cited properly. But according to research, it's something that high school students have a hard time doing.

During a study, researchers with the Stanford History Education group say 96% of high school students did not challenge the credibility of an unreliable source when it was presented to them.

At Pueblo D60, every grade level has its own set of lessons that teachers use to teach their students about news literacy. The district also says they teach students to not rely heavily on social media for their source of news.

"That can be a dangerous place to be because that's really a custom feed for only information that applies to what your likes and interests are. So we want to make sure that people are responsible enough to know that I can't just rely on social media for news, I've got to be a more responsible citizen in how I look at that information more critically," said Sprouse.

Facts, data, and research all matter because they help measure the credibility of a news story. Plus, being a responsible consumer of news helps us become better informed.