National News Literacy Week is January 22-26, 2024, and it's a vital time to reflect on the importance of understanding and interacting with news media — particularly in education. In an era saturated with information, the ability to discern reliable news from misinformation is more critical than ever. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at National News Literacy Week, the use of local news in education, and how THINKING PRO can help educators leverage local news to teach news literacy and critical thinking.
National News Literacy Week
This week is dedicated to empowering people of all ages to become more news-literate. Throughout the week, various activities, educational resources, and discussions are promoted to foster an understanding of news literacy, emphasizing its significance in empowering citizens to make informed decisions and engage constructively in society.
Each year, National News Literacy Week focuses on a different theme. In 2024, the initiative “turns a spotlight on local news and its role in a healthy democracy.” Local news serves as the cornerstone of communities, offering a unique insight that national news cannot replicate. It also keeps residents informed about what's happening in their immediate surroundings, from city council meetings and school board decisions to local festivals and public safety updates.
Local News and Education
Local news isn't just about keeping the community informed; it's also a powerful educational tool. When students engage with local news, they're not just passively consuming information; they're learning about the society they live in, the challenges it faces, and the mechanisms of local governance and community interaction. This engagement helps cultivate informed, civically engaged individuals.
Incorporating local news into education also plays a pivotal role in honing students' news literacy skills, offering a practical and relatable approach to understanding media. When students engage with local news, they build critical thinking skills and learn to identify biases and understand journalistic practices and ethics. This news literacy education leaves students better equipped to scrutinize information, question sources, and make informed judgments — all essential skills in guarding against the spread and influence of misinformation.
THINKING PRO: Fostering News Literacy and Critical Thinking
Engaging With Real-World Content
THINKING PRO encourages students to engage with real-world content. By analyzing local news stories, students aren't just learning about events happening around them; they're also developing a deeper understanding of the journalistic process and the importance of fact-based reporting. This real-world application makes the learning process more engaging and relevant.
Developing Critical Thinking Skills
One of the core benefits of THINKING PRO is its focus on developing critical thinking skills. As students dissect local news stories, they're encouraged to ask questions, identify biases, and consider the sources of information. This process not only enhances their media literacy, but also fosters a mindset of healthy skepticism and inquiry — essential in today's information-rich world.
For teachers, THINKING PRO offers a multitude of benefits. It provides educators with ready-to-use, curriculum-aligned resources that make integrating news literacy into the classroom seamless and effective. By incorporating local news into the curriculum, THINKING PRO enables teachers to:
- Enhance engagement: Students are more likely to engage with material that feels relevant to their lives. Local news stories provide a direct connection to the community, making lessons more engaging and meaningful.
- Foster real-world skills: News literacy is a critical skill in today's world. By teaching students to analyze and question the news, educators are preparing them for a lifetime of informed citizenship.
- Meet curriculum standards: THINKING PRO's resources are designed to align with educational standards, making the program effective and practical for the classroom.
During National News Literacy Week this year, dwell on the role of local news in education — and consider THINKING PRO as a valuable teaching tool. THINKING PRO offers innovative solutions to enhance news literacy and critical thinking in the classroom. By leveraging the power of local news, teachers can create more engaging, relevant, and impactful learning experiences for their students.
Let's remember the vital role of local news in our communities and the importance of empowering the next generation with the skills they need to navigate an increasingly complex information landscape.
Here at Thinking Habitats, we use thinking tools to empower young people to lead successful lives and contribute to the well-being of their communities. Our online platform has helped students improve their critical thinking, reading comprehension, and news media literacy, and has had significant individual and community impacts. Try THINKING PRO today, and join our students who feel more empowered in decision-making, more mindful with their news engagement, and more connected to their local community!
Butrymowicz, S., Salman, J., Butrymowicz, S., & Salman, J. (2021, March 1). The in-school push to fight misinformation from the outside world. The Hechinger Report. https://hechingerreport.org/the-in-school-push-to-fight-misinformation-from-the-outside-world/National News Literacy Week — News Literacy Project. (2024, January 10).
News Literacy Project. https://newslit.org/news-literacy-week/