Common Sense

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Most Reliable and Credible Sources for Students

Give your students access to trusted, reliable, and credible sources for news, current events, and research. Do you have students working on a research paper? Are they keeping up with the news to build reading and critical thinking skills? It's easy for students to go astray and get duped by untrustworthy, deceptive news sources or research studies. This list will point students in the right direction, toward sites and apps with vetted, fact-based, and fact-checked work. There are kid-friendly news sites and apps that adapt journalism to different reading levels and kids' sensibilities as well as primary and secondary research resources from leading institutions like the Smithsonian and NASA. We've also curated a few well-known sites and apps for older kids and adults like the New York Times and NPR. 

 

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Trustworthy News Sources

NASA Visualization Explorer

Updated stories help kids stay up to speed with space exploration

Bottom line: Weekly updates and striking visuals make it easy for kids to stay informed about NASA's most recent discoveries.

Google News

News site offers a useful platform for research, critical thinking

Bottom line: With some cautious supervision and adept guidance from teachers, this is a good tool for seeking, reading, and evaluating stories from multiple sources.

NASA Global Climate Change - Vital Signs of the Planet

Tons of climate change info from expert sources in one easy place

Bottom line: This is a one-stop shop for climate change info, from basic intro content to practical guides and raw data; good for middle schoolers and up.

The New York Times

Easy access to news, but most content is available only to subscribers

Bottom line: Provides an easy-to-use news resource, but only section front pages are accessible without a subscription.

NPR One

Trusty podcast app has quality content but lacks learning supports

Bottom line: An enticing free option for connecting current events to content through podcasts, but student engagement hinges on how you incorporate it.

Kid- and Student-Friendly News Sources

Time for Kids

Digital news magazine for kids can drive current events conversation

Bottom line: While some articles lack differentiation, and lessons don't always stretch higher-order thinking skills, this site is one of the best options for bringing current events into elementary classrooms.

News-O-Matic EDU

Daily news stories and supplements keep elementary schoolers current

Bottom line: This highly useful current events platform can be a daily fixture of elementary school classrooms.

News-2-You

Draw kids into weekly news with powerful symbols and voice narration

Bottom line: Students can expand literacy skills, learn about the world, and get involved with discussion questions and activities.

KidsPost

Kid-centric news site could use more comprehensive, timely content

Bottom line: While it doesn't provide complete news updates, analysis, or writing practice, KidsPost content makes for interesting, kid-themed reading assignments.

Common Sense Selection

Newsela

Great stories, just-right leveled reading; now mostly by subscription

Bottom line: Up-to-date, high-interest articles will meet students right at their level, and help teachers bolster students' nonfiction reading skills.

Science News for Students

Cool STEM articles with learning supports make for fun, informative reading

Bottom line: Free, fascinating articles make science relevant to students.

Xyza: News for Kids

Subscription-based, kid-friendly news site keeps kids up-to-date

Bottom line: It's a useful starting point to spark interest in the news and build awareness of current events, but not as ideal for teaching media literacy skills.

TimeEdge

Digital news source builds literacy and measures progress

Bottom line: A top-notch digital news source with interactive features; a good tool to add value as students learn critical-thinking and close-reading skills.

The Learning Network

Process current events through engaging NYT-style lens

Bottom line: From a trusted news organization with its finger on the pulse of the world, this free resource can be a reliable source of activities and ideas for current event discussions.

PBS NewsHour Extra

Trusted news brand's current events site could pique teens' interest

Bottom line: This isn't going to necessarily excite students, but the high-quality content is credible and timely and should support interesting discussions.

Primary and Secondary Sources

Smithsonian's History Explorer

Browse and use American history artifacts and activities

Bottom line: This is a handy resource that, with some effort, will uncover resources for kickstarting curious learning.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Powerful stories and media centralize African-American history

Bottom line: While there aren't ready-to-go curricular materials, this modern, well-curated, and well-contextualized digital collection is sure to inspire compelling lessons.

Library of Congress

Dig into famed library's collection of research goodies

Bottom line: The Library of Congress delivers the best of America's past and present, and with teacher support it could be a reliable research resource for students.

Smithsonian Open Access

Stellar museum-based resources available for exploration and use

Bottom line: This high-quality collection of museum resources -- ranging from artifacts to full-blown exhibits -- provides unlimited exploration for students, reliable primary sources for teachers.

National Archives

Access U.S. history with treasure trove of docs, genealogy, and other resources

Bottom line: NARA's website wasn't designed for kids, but they can definitely use it to research and learn about history, genealogy, and the U.S. population and government.

Digital Public Library of America

Organized digital library features piles of useful primary resources

Bottom line: DPLA is at the top of the list of high-grade, online primary source collections if teachers make effective use of what's on offer.

Common Sense Selection

Google Arts & Culture

Well-curated art and history site inspires curious learning

Bottom line: A beautifully presented one-stop shop for compellingly curated and contextualized art, history, and culture resources, but it's lacking educator supports.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Extensive resource collection supports teaching about the Holocaust

Bottom line: As a valuable resource for anyone teaching or learning about the Holocaust, time to explore and plan is necessary in order to make the materials effective.

The National WWII Museum - New Orleans

High-quality resources and activities offer an in-depth study

Bottom line: Materials and activities support a thorough study of World War II, making this a valuable resource for both teachers and students.

Data USA

Elegant treasure trove of data could fuel lessons and projects

Bottom line: An efficient research tool that makes it easier to incorporate stats into a host of lessons or projects focusing on the U.S.

Google Scholar

Academic search engine, an excellent source for credible research info

Bottom line: This smart tool can help teens locate credible material for paper and report writing, general research, and other school projects.

Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

History and art intersect on the Met's vast, reading-centric site

Bottom line: This resource from the Metropolitan Museum of Art beautifully illustrates art's evolution and is great for research, but more interactivity would help balance out the text-heavy content.

Kidappolis: School Edition

Math/ELA assessment points to solid apps, stalls on showing progress

Bottom line: Though it gives solid recommendations for external content, it doesn't offer the interactivity or student reporting that would justifies its cost.

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