Review by Erin Brereton, Common Sense Education | Updated July 2012

TIME for Kids

Kid-friendly news/info resource can help boost brain power

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Teachers say (1 Review)
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K-6 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Well-written articles, including ones written by kids their age, can help students learn about dozens of topics.

Cons: Teachers must provide insight and feedback to personalize the experience; kids can't post comments, which increases safety but limits discussion.

Bottom Line: News content is presented in a digestible format, which, along with educator guidance, can help kids learn about key current events and other topics.

The site also offers teaching resources for a half-dozen articles, plus a lesson on critical thinking and a few other items. The TFK Extra section offers some additional materials, produced with organizations like the History Channel, that can be used to teach kids about community service and other subjects.

The reading-intensive site probably isn't ideal for low-literacy or early-level ESL students. However, the publisher says TIME for Kids' content was designed around Common Core literacy and informational reading requirements, which could make it a beneficial grade school resource. To access most teaching materials, though -- including a digital magazine with narration and highlighted vocabulary words -- you'll need a classroom print magazine subscription.

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TIME for Kids is a companion site to TIME for Kids magazine, featuring news items on science, entertainment, current events, and other topics. Grade school-age kids write some articles, while various mini-sites within TIME for Kids provide info on topics like the London Olympics and summer movies. Articles can teach kids about current events and social studies, civics, history, science, and other topics. Online tools provide some math, geography, and grammar practice, and guidelines can help kids strengthen their writing skills. The Homework Helper section offers online study tools like math and state capital flashcards. Kids can also create their own flashcards, take a punctuation quiz, and get help on essays, papers, news stories, and other writing assignments. 

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Kids learn about current events by reading articles that are often shorter, simpler, and less graphic than ones on other news sites. A piece on the November 2013 Philippines typhoon, for example, mentions casualties but focuses on the meterological causes and relief efforts. Articles are written in an admirable tone; they manage to be informative and easy to understand without sounding oversimplified. And there's plenty to read here: The site covers both world and national news and reports on a number of other topics, including health and entertainment. A few new articles are posted each school day, which should encourage kids to keep coming to the site.

In addition to solid content, the site also provides a healthy dose of inspiration. Its newswriting tips and young reporters serve as an empowering example of how kids can write about the world around them. Kid-penned articles receive highlighted billing, and content focuses on youth-centric topics, such as the Kids Fit Foundation's role in setting up competitions for kids aged 4 to 13. Teachers will also find a few lesson plan suggestions, printable activities, and other materials to help them use the site as a learning resource in class.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4

Articles are customized for kids, who also write some of them, which makes the site truly feel like it's meant for kids. They can view photos and videos, express themselves in polls, and use fun interactive study aids like flashcards.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

Kids can learn about current events, politics, sports, health, and other topics in informative daily articles written in an approachable tone. Online tools also help them study math and other subjects and hone writing skills.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

The TFK Extras section has additional teaching materials, created with partners like the Special Olympics, about the environment, community service, and other topics. Teachers with magazine subscriptions get extra materials.


Teacher Reviews

5
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Featured review by
Lynn S. , Other
Other
The Montclair Kimberley Academy
Montclair, NJ
5
Kid-friendly current events and skill building.

The Time for Kids website (www.timeforkids.com) is a free and invaluable resource for encouraging students to read, think and talk about current events, both national and international.

The site is very well organized, including sections on current stories, mini-sites on topics of special interest (Election 2012 or the London Olympics, for example), pictures and video, and student polls.

The Homework Helper section includes tips on writing different types of papers, a grammar guide and links to writing tools like an online thesaurus and bibliography writing tips.

Some teacher resources on the site (quizzes and worksheets for example) are available only with a subscription, but the lion's share of the site is available to kids, teachers and families for free.

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