Worried that your kids can’t tell the difference between real and fake news? Although people are barraged with both bogus and legitimate news stories every day, it turns out that parents can help kids develop the ability to distinguish fact from fiction. And one of the best ways is to connect them to high-caliber, trustworthy news sites that are tailored for their age range and reading ability. Here are some of our top picks:
Great News Sources for Younger Kids
Created by a former Today show producer, this news site is geared towards younger elementary-aged kids. The super simple layout, which is updated two times a week, is easy for kids to navigate on their own, and news stories are short enough for newly proficient readers to complete without assistance. Toggling between the silly and the serious, the site covers politics, sports, science, health and nature as well as profiles of people around the world.
This daily-updated news app includes current events covering arts, sports, culture, animals and international events. Each story is rich in images, videos and illustrations, giving kids a multi-faceted experience as they explore the world around them. Puzzles, games and fun facts can be discovered along the way. While the content is attuned to newly proficient readers and is mostly kid-centric, it does include topics such as terrorism and war. Some articles are free, but a monthly subscription fee is required to gain full access.
Kids can learn about world events, sports and entertainment from this award-winning magazine that is expertly calibrated for kids. Each issue features current events, politics, sports and entertainment stories written in an approachable tone. The app features highlighted vocabulary words, captions that kids can pull across any photo, as well as slideshows and videos that accompany almost every article. The mix of serious and silly, in-depth articles and shorter, photo-driven stories is spot on. A free version offers a sample of three articles from the current issue; after that there’s a monthly subscription price.
Here’s a site that cleverly delivers the news while adjusting to different reading levels. Although it’s been designed for classroom use, families can create their own (free) profiles. With licensing deals and partnerships with publishers such as Scientific American and The Associated Press, Newsela collects breaking and general interest stories and then adapts articles for K-12 readers (each piece has multiple versions to accommodate a variety of reading levels). Stories are national and international in scope, and include topics such as politics, science, technology and more.
Top News Sites and Apps for Tweens & Teens
Journalists select the stories that appear on this Smithsonian news site, where a well-rounded grouping of daily-updated articles have instant-kid appeal. Stories are mostly pulled from the Associated Press, and touch on science, tech, nature, art, fashion, human interest and other topics. The same articles appear in all three age ranges (kids, tweens and teens), but are longer and more detailed as they age up. Other features, like its “What is that thing?” photo caption contest, have great appeal for kids. All comments are moderated and the site’s simple navigation and design will keep kids focused on the content.
The Washington Post’s KidsPost is designed to give students summaries of light national and international news, along with features on animals, school life and history. The site does a much better job than most at making stories accessible to younger readers, and offers enough daily updates to give a true sense of the news cycle.
The companion website to the award-winning CNN Student News — a daily program produced by the journalists and educators at the most trusted name in news — hosts supplemental materials including transcripts for each show, discussion questions, a daily media literacy question and other support materials to help students understand current events.