Extra! Extra! 16 Web Tools & Apps for Kids to Learn with the News

“Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.” —Joseph Pulitzer

Transform your young language learners into classroom reporters. Our students can learn by reading current events and news articles. They can also act as journalists who write short news articles. This helps them enhance their reading and writing skills, because they will need to conduct research and summarize local news. They can enhance their listening skills and learn to form questions through live interviews in English to help them gather information for their news stories. They can practice their speaking and listening skills by acting as TV reporters and recording themselves sharing local and world news on video.

Below are resources to help you teach your young language learners with the news. Some of these activities can be accomplished in one class period and others can be longer projects.

Kid-Friendly News Sites & Resources

These sites and tools will help your young learners become familiar with spoken and written news stories:

Newsela has several kid-friendly news articles with quizzes and writing prompts. You can search by grade level or reading standard. Sign up for a free account to access these features.

Time for Kids has various news articles for kids and also some written by their kid reporters. Find interviews with kid celebrities and inventors. There is also a world news section. Your young learners will find online grammar and writing practice in the homework helper section. Premium features are available for paid subscriptions, but the news articles and homework help are free features.

Sports Illustrated for Kids has news articles, videos, and interviews related to sports. The Sports Kid of the Year section features children athletes. The online games section has plenty of vocabulary-building games, word searches, and crossword puzzles.

The BBC has a bitesized English quiz to get students familiar with the parts of a news story. No registration is required.

Read Write Think’s Printing Press Interactive walks students through the process of a printing press creating a newspaper. Several lesson plans are listed on the site for teachers.

Web Tools & Apps for Students to Report the News

Your young language learners will have fun reporting the news with the following free web tools and apps:

Try this simple newspaper template that requires no registration. This will take 15 minutes for students to complete. Students can’t save it, but can copy and paste their articles to a presentation, Google document, or other word processing tool.

This free newspaper generator also takes 15 minutes or less and helps students create a news article and add an image. No registration is required.

With Fodey’s newspaper clip generator, students create a headline and a very short description of their news story. This takes students about five minutes and can help them explore headlines for larger articles they plan to write. No registration is required.

Piktochart and Google both have free newspaper templates.

Canva has a free magazine template for a class magazine. You could also create online class magazines with Flip Snack and Issuu.

Talking Ben and Tom News is a free iOS and Amazon Fire app where students upload a short news video and animate a talking dog and cat who report the news.

Students can create an interactive news video with Touchcast iPad app, which has a teleprompter and green screen and allows interactive text.

Find more free online teleprompters here and here.

What other news activities do you think are fun for young language learners?

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell is the author of Learning To Go and The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators. She is also an adjunct professor, teacher trainer, and international speaker. She has trained teachers in over 25 countries and is a founder of the Bammy Award-winning #Edchat, the ELTON-nominated ELTChat, and The Reform Symposium E-Conference. She is the host of American TESOL’s Free Friday Webinars and shares regularly via TeacherRebootCamp.com, Twitter (@ShellTerrell), Facebook.com/shellyterrell, and Google.com/+ShellySanchezTerrell. She has taught toddlers to adults English in various countries including the US, Germany, Croatia, Slovenia, and Greece.

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