What’s real and what’s made up? How you can learn to find out

Real or made up: Most kids need help learning how to read. (Real!)
Real or made up: Kids born in the digital age instinctively know how to navigate sources of information. (Made-up!)

Do your students know how to find information, either at the library or online? Or do they frequently demonstrate to you that they don’t understand why plagiarism is wrong or that they can’t find or cite reputable sources?

Would you like to help them sift through the information currently available in our world, more than we’ve ever had access to in the past? Here at Lerner we work pretty darn hard to research, write, and fact-check all our nonfiction books. And since we have learned and practiced these essential skills, we believe we’re good candidates to put together books that can help kids do the same. These titles can help young readers learn about research, genres, advertising, media, and information literacy as a whole.

In early grades, kids are learning how to read and find information. The six titles in our Library Smarts series will give them a great start, helping to answer questions such as: How can you find out things you don’t know? How can you find a good book? Which websites are safe and fun for kids?

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Even at the tender ages of five through seven, modern kids are bombarded with advertising. But at this age, not all of them can differentiate between fact-based content and ads. Our Learn about Advertising series, from the much-loved First Step Nonfiction brand, can help. Kids will learn to identify ads in everyday life, as well as understanding that ads mean someone wants them to do or buy something.

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Second and third graders are becoming stronger readers. They often branch out into different genres. But do they understand that different genres do different things? The books in our Name That Text Type! series explore different age-appropriate genres. Books answer questions such as: How is nonfiction different from other kinds of writing? How are plays different from poetry? Each book includes lots of examples to help readers identify the genres in real life.

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As students reach upper elementary grades, they research and write nonfiction reports. Our Info Wise series walks them through that process, including how to find and evaluate sources for reliability. The series also contains a special title on how to identify and assess advertising. These books address the Big6 skills for information and technology.

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And finally, for fifth- through eighth-grade readers, we have Media: From News Coverage to Political Advertising. This book explains how the media works during an election cycle, including a critical thinking component that asks readers to look at opposing viewpoints and consider their own beliefs and experiences.


Please let us know if there are other critical thinking and information literacy resources that would help you and your students. We publish new books every season!