News literacy lessons for social studies, English, science and math available

News literacy lessons for social studies, English, science and math available

The Journalism Education Association and the American Society of News Editors in partnership with the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute are offering free news literacy lessons for English/language arts, science, math and social studies teachers to use in secondary-school classrooms. The lessons are available at, and Funding for the project was provided by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

News Literacy Curriculum in English/Language Arts
News Literacy Curriculum in Math

Math slideshows, grades 7-8:
Buffalo Blizzard
All the Ants
Counting the Hungry

Math slideshows, grades 9-10:
Verifying Probability in the News
Statistics in the News Discussion-Warmup
Understanding the Distribution of a Set of Data
Using Variation to Judge Statistics
Scatter Plot Review
Using the Regression Line to Make Predictions

News Literacy Curriculum in Science

Science slideshow, grades 9-10:
• The water issue in the United States

Science slideshow, grades 11-12:
• Know your news

News Literacy Curriculum in Social Studies, via the American Bar Association

“A news literacy curriculum is about more than just journalism concepts,” said Teri Hayt, executive director of ASNE. “It teaches our students to think about how they consume news and how to be critical thinkers. The news literacy lesson plans encourage teachers and students to analyze and challenge, to be part of the conversation that is guaranteed in our First Amendment freedoms. I cannot stress how important this is for the next generation of leaders.”

JEA and ASNE worked with educators affiliated with the American Bar Association Division of Public Education, the National Council for the Social Studies, the National Council of Teachers of English, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the National Science Teachers Association to develop the lesson plans. News literacy concepts are taught in tandem with a variety of core academic skills ranging from literary analysis, deductive reasoning and syllogism to probability, standard deviation and finance to earth science, DNA and nuclear energy to court case analysis, Fourth Amendment and privacy rights.

“If we want young people to engage in democratic processes as informed citizens, they must understand deeply the multiple, complex points of view presented in presidential debates, current events and controversial topics that impact their lives every day,” said Michelle M. Herczog, immediate past president of the National Council for Social Studies. “The future of our democracy is secure when the next generation of citizens develops the knowledge, skills, and dispositions, as a result of lessons like these, to become informed, productive and contributing members of our American society.”

Each lesson addresses a guiding news literacy question and aligns with Common Core State Standards. A Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 License allows teachers to adapt the lessons for educational purposes. Teachers can use the lessons as a springboard to incorporate news literacy skills into every academic discipline and help students learn critical-thinking skills for analyzing and judging the reliability of news and information in everyday problem-solving and real-life experiences.

“News literacy is a component of journalism education that applies not only to content producers, but to the audience, as well,” said Kelly Furnas, executive director of JEA. “By crafting news literacy lessons tailored for classrooms in English, math, science and social studies, JEA and ASNE are helping educate students to become better consumers of the news and to appreciate well crafted journalism all the more.”

To learn more about teaching news literacy and receive information about available resources, join the News and Information Professional Learning Community.

The Robert R. McCormick Foundation is committed to fostering communities of educated, informed and engaged citizens. Through philanthropic programs, Cantigny Park and museums, the Foundation helps develop citizen leaders and works to make life better in our communities. The Foundation was established as a charitable trust in 1955, upon the death of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. The Robert R. McCormick Foundation is one of the nation’s largest foundations, with more than $1.5 billion in assets.

The Journalism Education Association supports free and responsible scholastic journalism by providing resources and educational opportunities, by promoting professionalism, by encouraging and rewarding student excellence and teacher achievement, and by fostering an atmosphere which encompasses diversity yet builds unity.

The American Society of News Editors focuses on leadership development and journalism-related issues. Founded in 1922 as a nonprofit professional organization, ASNE promotes fair, principled journalism; defends and protects First Amendment rights; and fights for freedom of information and open government. Leadership, innovation, diversity and inclusion in coverage and the journalism workforce, youth journalism, news literacy and the sharing of ideas are also key ASNE initiatives.

ASNE’s Youth Journalism Initiative, launched in 2000, is committed to helping students learn why news matters and acquire the skills needed to succeed as 21st-century citizens. The Initiative invests in the future of journalism and democracy by providing resources and training in youth journalism; news, information and media literacy; and the First Amendment and civic education.

The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute works with citizens, journalists and researchers to strengthen democracy through better journalism. RJI seeks out the most exciting new ideas, tests them with real-world experiments, uses social science research to assess their effectiveness and delivers solutions that citizens and journalists can put to use in their own communities.

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