Review by Andrea Meyers, Common Sense Education | Updated April 2019

Time for Kids

Digital news magazine for kids can drive current events conversation

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Social Studies

Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
K–6
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (2 Reviews)

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Pros: Interesting articles from a wide variety of topics. Some stories are written in Spanish, and some have multiple Lexile levels with audio.

Cons: Differentiation is in the early stages and not consistent across content.

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.

Teachers can use the free stories or purchase a class subscription and have access to all the lesson guides and extra materials. Each edition has a theme that teachers can integrate with classroom learning activities, and they can use the current edition or incorporate stories from the archives. Use the lesson plans and teacher guides as provided or to jump-start your own lesson plans. Some stories have online and print quizzes for formative assessments, or you can customize them for your students. Some of the articles have Spanish versions as well as audio and multiple Lexile levels that can be used to support learners with different needs. Design lessons that have students read individually or in groups and have collaborative discussions about the material. Motivated students can apply to the Kid Reporter program.

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Time for Kids is a companion site to the Time for Kids magazine. The news stories provide good examples of journalism written (with actual authors, as opposed to some competitors) at appropriate grade levels. Some articles are written by the student Time for Kids Kid Reporters, which engages and inspires students to read and write their own news stories. Articles from the print magazine are grouped based on grade levels: K-1, 2, 3-4, and 5-6. Teachers and students can also sort news stories by topics and search for specific titles. The print magazine is also available in an interactive whiteboard version. The news stories cover topics across the educational content areas and also 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. The interactive whiteboard version makes it easy to read news stories together while students use the print version or the online articles on a shared or 1:1 mobile device. Each edition comes with lesson guides, plans, and printables that help teachers get started right away. 

The site could be improved by making it easier for teachers and students to find articles written by Time for Kids Reporters in the manner of Scholastic News Kids Press Corps. Also, the suggested learning activities could take steps to move toward the higher-order thinking skills and encourage students to write and record their own news stories. 

Information text reading is a key skill in standards, 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, but with some weaknesses. The reading content is sound and the teacher lesson guides and plans help students get started with reading informational texts. Unfortunately, many of the lessons and activities presume individual work and emphasize lower-order thinking skills. Of course, teachers can expand on the content by introducing collaborative conversations in which students analyze and evaluate the articles and then create their own writing products.

There's also some differentiation, with articles written in Spanish, audio versions, and multiple Lexile levels. This applies only to a few 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. Beyond these limitations, the site's design is attentive to accessibility with good contrast, easy resizing, and captions for each image. 

Overall Rating

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

Students will like the TFK Kid Reporters articles written by other students their own age. The design is full of quality color images as well as engaging videos that accompany some of the articles.

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

The articles support nonfiction reading instruction with timely topics. The lesson plans guide teachers through the themes and offer tips to support student reading and responses.

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

Teachers can print articles and find extras through the dashboard, including guides, lesson plans, and other materials. Articles are accessible with excellent contrast, and some have adjustable levels, and audio.


Common Sense Reviewer
Andrea Meyers Instructional Facilitator of Technology

Teacher Reviews

(See all 2 reviews) (2 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Lynn S. , Other
Other
The Montclair Kimberley Academy
Montclair, United States
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.

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