NewsWise is a free, cross-curricular news literacy programme for 7- to 11-year-olds across the UK.
Amidst a surge in fake news and disinformation, the free programme aims to educate disadvantaged young people on how to identify false information and on the importance of news and how to engage with it.
An extensive evaluation of the free literacy course found that:
- Pupils were twice as likely to identify a fake news story
- Pupils were twice as likely to be interested in news
- All teachers said pupils had a better understanding of different aspects of news
Earlier this year and in response to school closures, NewsWise also created the Happy News Project to support pupils’ wellbeing and encourage them to interact positively with the news.
The project uses uplifting news stories to help pupils develop their team working, speaking and listening, and news writing and reading skills. The Happy News Project is free for all UK primary schools to support pupils’ wellbeing and transition back to school for the 2020/21 academic year.
Over the past year NewsWise, provided by The Guardian Foundation, the National Literacy Trust and the PSHE Association funded by Google, has supported nearly 4,000 children aged 7-11 from disadvantaged areas.
Angie Pitt, director of NewsWise at The Guardian Foundation, said: “Children, their families and their teachers have faced unprecedented challenges this year. With a surge in misinformation about the pandemic, it has been vital to help children develop the news literacy skills they need to understand the avalanche of news, determine the reliability of its sources and encounter positive news stories. We’re delighted that NewsWise has helped to strengthen so many children’s critical literacy skills and engagement with the news during this time and over the past year.