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Time for Kids
Pros: Supplemental questions and activities build critical thinking and creativity skills.
Cons: Reading supports vary by article.
Bottom Line: This is an excellent cross-curricular resource that goes way beyond delivering the news and toward true news literacy.
Once teachers purchase a class subscription, they have access to current and archived issues, plus all of the lesson guides and extra materials like Google Forms quizzes. Students connect to the online platform with a link (URL, QR code, or Google Classroom assignment) and a password. Versatile lesson guides make for minimal prep work. Each edition has a theme that teachers can integrate with classroom learning activities, with suggested curriculum tie-ins and extension activities. For example, in the second grade bug-themed issue, there's a quality kids research website and a Google Slides template for students to make their own interactive slideshow about bugs. In another issue, after reading about pandemic bookstore closures, students create math equations to help them fill a bookcase. Other suggested activities include designing book jackets and creating marketing campaigns.
Each issue features an article by a student journalist and encourages students to explore journalism on their own. Students can learn about the journalism process and find tips for becoming better journalists themselves. Motivated students can join the TFK Press Club and participate in monthly Junior Journalist missions, and then submit their work to the magazine for potential inclusion in an upcoming issue.
Time for Kids is a digital and print magazine for elementary students. The news stories provide good examples of journalism written by actual journalists at appropriate grade levels. Select articles are written by kids. Time for Kids is published in three grade-based editions: K–1, 2, 3–6. Readers can flip through the digital magazine, view it as a webpage, or print it. Teachers and students can also sort news stories by topic and search for specific titles. The news stories cover topics across educational content areas plus areas of personal interest such as sports and entertainment. Teachers will find many articles relevant to their lesson plans, and students will find articles that they enjoy reading on their own. Each edition comes with lesson guides, plans, quizzes, and printables that help teachers get started right away. Time for Kids integrates well with Google Classroom via premade Google Form quizzes and quick article sharing in Classroom.
Information text reading is a key skill, but it's just as important to teach kids news literacy skills and foster an interest in legitimate news and reporting. Time for Kids offers a valuable, dynamic platform for both. The reading content is sound, and the teacher lesson guides and plans help students get started with reading informational texts. The articles and lessons are bolstered by questions that encourage high-order thinking skills. Time for Kids has also curated Text Sets, which are themed collections of archived articles, paired with literary texts and essential questions for discussion and research.
Time for Kids has some built-in differentiation and accessibility features, with articles written in Spanish, audio versions, and multiple Lexile levels. Some stories even have accompanying videos and podcasts. This doesn’t apply evenly to all articles in each edition, however. Teachers with English language learners and students above and below grade-level reading abilities will need to take this into consideration when selecting news stories for their lessons. Students can access a lot of the web content without a password, which makes home access really easy. It'd also be beneficial if Time for Kids used its online platform to feature even more student submissions. Imagine how many students would really get into journalism if they had a realistic chance of sharing their work with a global audience.