Teaching Current Events
Studying current events is an excellent way for children and teens to learn about the world around them. News articles and programs touch on what they are learning about in many subjects, showing them the relevance and real-world application of what they are learning. They can use geography they’ve learned to understand where the current events are happening and history to evaluate the cause. Through current events, they can learn about the latest scientific discoveries and watch historical events as they unfold.
Your family can learn about current events through local or national newspapers or news programs. However, many families choose to use news sources directed specifically towards children or teenagers. These sources are often more engaging and easier to understand, especially for younger children. While you still need to be careful, these sources are also less likely to report on topics you may find inappropriate.
Below, is a list of several free online news sources for children and teens. While I’ve included a recommended grade range, it is very approximate, so please preview the resources to decide what’s appropriate for your children.
CNN 10 is a daily 10-minute digital news show that explains global news. Printable transcripts of each episode are available. (4th to 12th)
DOGO News has thousands of news articles with new content added daily. The articles can be sorted by grade level or category. DOGO News offers a pro subscription with added features, but it’s not necessary to purchase this to read the articles. (K to 12th)
izzit.org posts two news articles each school day, usually at different reading levels. The articles each have a readability score and include several discussion questions. izzit.org selects the articles from various major news sources. (6th to 12th)
Newsela’s articles can be sorted by suggested grade level and content provider. Each article is available at several reading levels and many are also available in Spanish. They offer a paid membership to access the website’s library and other features, but you do not need to purchase this to read the news articles. (2nd to 12th)
PBS Newshour offers news articles and videos on a wide variety of current event topics. The user can sort the content by subject area. The website also offers lesson plans related to current events and media literacy. (7th to 12th)
Science News for Students publishes articles related to current events in science, health, and technology. Each article includes a glossary of terms used in the article. The reading level of each article is stated at the end of the article. (4th to 12th)
Smithsonian Tween Tribune posts about current events, history, art, culture, and science. The articles can be sorted by grade level and topic. Each article is available at multiple reading levels. If you create a free teacher’s account, you’ll also have access to quizzes, lessons, and other instructional tools. (1st to 12th)
Student News Daily posts several articles each day. All articles include comprehension and critical thinking questions. The articles also include background information like video clips, maps, or related links. You will need to sign up for a free account to receive a daily email with answers to the questions. (9th to 12th)
Teen Kids News is a half-hour weekly news program. On their website, viewers can watch full-length episodes or individual stories. All of TKN’s reporters are teenagers. (6th to 12th)
Youngzine is an online news magazine whose goal is to bring current events to children in a simple and unbiased manner with the appropriate context. The articles can be sorted by category. (3rd to 12th)
BBC’s Newsround provides news articles and programs covering British and international news. The website also has games and quizzes. (2nd to 12th)
Christian News Websites
God’s Big World is a current events website for beginning readers. The stories cover a wide variety of topics. Children can read the text as the video tells the story. Each story includes a related Bible verse to read with your child, showing how God’s word is relevant to all areas of life. (Pre-K to 2nd)
World Kids is a Christian current events website for children. Story by story, children learn to read news accounts and other information critically, to sift for the truth, and to relate knowledge and biblical wisdom to daily life. (1st to 5th)
World Teen is a current events website designed for pre-teens and younger teenagers. The editors select age-appropriate news that broadens readers’ awareness of world events. The stories are written from a Biblical perspective, which helps readers develop discernment in the context of current events. (5th to 9th)
K-Love offers U.S. and world news articles from a Christian perspective. While this website isn’t specifically designed for young people, most content is appropriate for teenagers. (9th to 12th)
Media literacy is an important part of studying current events. The free resources below will help you teach your children about source credibility, fake news, political bias, fact-checking, and more.
The Hoax or No Hoax? Strategies for Online Comprehension and Evaluation unit from ReadWriteThink teaches research-based comprehension strategies to use when reading and evaluating websites. Your child will compare hoax and real websites and learn to identify false or misleading information. The unit is made up of four 60 minute sessions. A detailed lesson plan and printable worksheets are included. (8th to 12th)
The Ultimate Guide to Source Credibility from Education World provides information, ideas, and resources you can use to teach your children about source credibility. Topics addressed include fake news, hoax sites, political bias, fact-checking, and more. (3rd to 12th)
The downloadable Seven Questions Worksheet from Scholastic.com guides children through a series of seven questions that help them determine the reliability and credibility of news sources. (3rd to 8th)
Crash Course: Navigating Digital Information is a ten-episode series on YouTube that teaches students about fact-checking, source authority and perspective, evaluating different types of evidence, and how search engines and social media feeds work. (6th to 12th)
Mind Over Media provides eight downloadable Propaganda Education lessons. These lessons include defining, recognizing, and analyzing propaganda, deciding what to share on social media, and more. (6th to 12th)
Note: This post was originally published on September 8, 2019 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.