Fact vs. Fiction: Teaching Critical Thinking Skills in the Age of Fake News

LAGARDE, Jennifer & . 160p. bibliog. ISTE. Dec. 2018. pap. $29.95. ISBN 9781564847041.
Although the cry of "fake news" seems relatively recent, it's a refrain that's been heard throughout history, as LaGarde and Hudgins remind us, though the scope, proliferation, and speed at which misinformation spreads online garner more attention. Citing research, the authors state that the problem is less about the technology and more about readers who believe what confirms their biases. To sort fact from fiction, librarians must consider their own biases and examine how they and their students find news. LaGarde and Hudgins recommend five guiding principles when creating media literacy lessons, including giving students "language that allows them to challenge ideas, but that does not attack people." The book features a fake news self-assessment that presents news stories as they would appear on a cell phone—readers decide if the article is legitimate. This exercise demonstrates the difficulty in applying knowledge of traditional media to the news accessed on a cell phone, especially since news feeds are based on users' "likes" and whom they follow. Encouraging teacher and librarian collaboration, the authors offer educators many resources to use in honing their own skills and creating media literacy lessons that will help students navigate the overwhelming amount of information online. While the lessons here apply to students of all grade levels, the volume is best for educators working with fourth through twelfth graders.
VERDICT A thought-provoking resource for teachers and librarians seeking to foster their students' critical thinking.

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