The Juice

Daily news matches reading level, supports diving into current events

Learning rating

Community rating

Based on 2 reviews

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Expert evaluation by Common Sense

Grades

5–12

Subjects & Skills

English Language Arts, Social Studies

Great for

Evaluating Media, Media Literacy

Price: Free to try
Platforms: Web

Pros: Articles are available in a range of reading levels and include extra enrichment content to help guide students toward deeper learning.

Cons: Assessment is limited to multiple-choice questions, and staff-written articles don't promote general media literacy.

Bottom Line: These sortable collections of news stories, infographics, and videos can provide a daily dose of current events.

The Juice's daily collections could easily be a good fit for a social studies or English class. The articles are short, which makes them a pretty quick read. If it's too much to check in every day, teachers could make it a weekly assignment, and choose a particular collection that best matches what they're covering that week. Multiple-choice questions offer some minimal assessment, and teachers will certainly want to keep track of how their students score on those quizzes. But to really deepen the experience and gauge learning, teachers will want to supplement with other activities. Have students pick an article to research and report back to the class, assign different collections to different students (or groups of students) and ask them to summarize the news for the rest of the class, or use an article as a springboard for launching a unit -- for example, supply-side economics, climate change, or world political systems. Don't forget to talk to your students about media literacy, especially since the articles are summaries written for the site without links to actual news sources. Discuss the role of bias in news reporting, the importance of knowing your sources when evaluating a story, and ways to think critically about what you read. Check out our News and Media Literacy Toolkit for resources that can help.

The Juice is a subscription-based website where students can read short news stories written specifically for their grade level. The site is "fed" by the News and News site, though articles aren't taken directly from news sources but written in-house. Content is released every day through The Daily Juice, a small collection of news articles plus one STEAM or life-hack-related video. Each article is 200–300 words long and ends with a multiple-choice question that taps into the reader's comprehension of the article or its accompanying infographic. The article's authors are never named, but the developer claims that all content is created by educators and professional journalists. Teachers can share content through Google Classroom or a link. The homepage on a teacher account includes a data overview detailing class and student and learning standards addressed. Teachers can preview the content in the current day's The Daily Juice or browse collections from other days. They can also search for specific content by keyword, use category filters, or filter by content type like articles, videos, and infographics. Students access content through their own unique sign-in, initially connected to the teacher's account through a unique class code. Teachers choose a default reading level for each class, but they can also set a reading level for each individual student, choosing from Grades 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, and 11-12.

The Juice offers a good glimpse into current events wrapped up in easy-to-deliver packages. Though the actual content changes in each daily collection, there's usually a mix of stories, both domestic and international, that cover a variety of genres such as politics, science, economics, and health. And because news often addresses difficult issues, it's nice that each collection features a feel-good story highlighting something positive. Being able to choose from four reading levels helps make The Juice a good reading comprehension activity and lets teachers target the material to match their students' skill level. It's also nice that teachers can see what skills students practiced when answering multiple-choice questions. Also, including infographics, videos, and some background about topics helps The Juice stand out. 

It would be nice to have easily accessible transparency around the original sources of the news articles, particularly if educators want to teach about media literacy and the importance of knowing where your information comes from. Another downside is that besides directing students to look up a particular day's news collection, it's not immediately apparent how well teachers can customize what articles they want their students to read. Though the developers claim that teachers can choose specific content, that option doesn't seem to be available anywhere. And more options around customizing content such as assessment questions would also boost the site's value.

Learning Rating

Overall Rating
Engagement

Daily collections of news stories cover a range of current event topics and always include a feel-good article. Videos on fun science or life hacker topics can help increase interest.

Pedagogy

Short articles, definitions of difficult vocabulary words, background info on central topics, and infographs boost learning potential, but comprehension questions and other extensions are sparse.

Support

Digitized text-to-speech feature lets students listen to the text. The teacher account gathers data on student activity and quiz results. Content also available in Spanish.

Community Rating

Teaching Through The News -- In Just 15 Minutes A Day

The Juice, a daily newsletter produced by veteran journalists and educators, brings today’s news into the classroom — and delivers richly textured education to students in grades 5-12 in just 15 minutes a day. Through the prism of the morning’s headlines, The Juice teaches critical thinking, builds reading comprehension, instills media literacy, and fires students' imaginations, preparing them to be active citizens in our democracy.

Each issue brings a unique mix of original, engaging and important news articles, deep-dive educational supplements putting the news in context, vocabulary builders, standards-based quizzes, and educational videos. Teachers can easily track students’ progress, enabling them to build on students’ strengths and help them overcome challenges.

The Juice is a decidedly 21st-Century learning tool that brings unbiased, balanced, well-researched content to kids bombarded by bias, fake news, and bile on social media. In short, The Juice teaches students not what to think, but how to think. It’s a welcome addition when we need innovations like this!

I take issue with Common Sense Education’s assertion that The Juice’s staff-written articles don’t promote media literacy and that comprehension questions are sparse. The articles are, in fact, closely vetted by not only the writers but the educators at The Juice, and they scrupulously avoid any semblance of bias. Similarly, The Juice makes a point of dispelling myths and fake news through careful research and writing, including in the educational supplements that refute commonly held but inaccurate perceptions. The comprehension questions, in fact, have been proven to significantly improve students' reading skills, as studies have demonstrated.

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