Website Wednesday: Engaging Young Kids in News

by Kristie Burk

Today’s website recommendation is actually a collection of websites called TweenTribune, TeenTribuneTTEspañol and TTJunior – daily news sites for kids, tweens and teens used by 55 million students and 3.5 million teachers, according to the site.

As a parent himself, the founder of the website Alan Jacobson knew that most kids didn’t read newspapers, but, ironically, newspapers contained a lot of content that kids wanted. He created TweenTribune as a way to take news content from the Associated Press and present it in a way that encourages more young people to read and to talk about the news. The website also promotes student writing in response to the stories they read.

When students post comments to the stories, they are automatically  moderated by their teachers. Tweens can also submit their own stories.

When teachers register their classes for free, they get access to special features like pages where they can see the stories their students have read or commented on.  They can also get reports that allows them to comment or grade their students’ responses.

The success of TweenTribune, targeted to students in grades 5-8, inspired Jacobson to launch TTJunior for grades K-4, TeenTribune for high schoolers, and a version en Español.

I had the pleasure of watching Jon Blow’s fourth grade class at Pickering Valley Elementary School last year use the TweenTribune website. The students were all highly motivated and could talk (and write) in great detail about the stories they read. I’m definitely going to use the site with my own elementary-aged kids as a way for them to stay engaged. Try it out!

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