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Fighting Fake News

Fighting Fake News
Teaching Students to Identify and Interrogate Information Pollution

Includes 20+ Lesson Plans

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February 2023 | 264 pages | Corwin

Texting while driving is dangerous; but so is sending our students on the digital highway without critical thinking skills.

Critical thinking and online reading need to go hand in hand—but they often don’t. Students click, swipe, and believe because they don’t know how to do otherwise. At times, so do we. And that’s a problem. Fighting Fake News combats this challenge by helping you model how to read, myth-bust, truth-test, and respond in ways that lead to wisdom rather than reactivity.

No matter what content you teach, the lessons showcased here provide engaging, collaborative reading and discussion experiences so students can:

  • Notice how teacher and peers read digital content, to be mindful of how various reading pathways influence perception
  • Identify the author background, the website sponsor, and other evidence that help set a piece in context
  • Stress-test the facts by evaluating news sources, reading laterally, and other critical reading strategies
  • Use “Reader’s Rules of Notice” to learn to identify common rhetorical devices used to influence the reader
  • Be aware of how for-profit social media platforms feed on our responses to narrow rather than widen our reading landscape

We are still in the wild west era of the digital age, scrambling to impart a safer, ethical framework for evaluating information. Thankfully, it distills to one mission: teach students (and ourselves) how to think critically, and we will forever have the tools to fight fake news.

Part 1: So Much at Stake
Chapter 1: The Case for Teaching Critical Reading and Fighting Fake News
Chapter 2: Fake News: What It Is, Why it Works, and What We Can Start Doing About It
Part II: Lessons for Critical Reading and Fighting Fake News
Chapter 3: Lessons for Getting Started: Knowing Your Own Mind
Chapter 4: Lessons Using ‘Rules of Notice’ in Online Reading
Chapter 5: Lessons for Teaching Point of View in Digital Media
Chapter 6: Lessons for Examining News, Nonfiction, and Digital Texts through Literary Lenses
Chapter 7: Lessons for Teaching Students to Evaluate Evidence and Research
Conclusion: Some Final Words


“If I were in charge of the world, every school would have a required media studies course, and every faculty would do a book study around Fighting Fake News. This book is an essential tool in helping students to be more consciously aware, reflective, and rational about the waves of news and other forms of “angertainment.” I lost count of how many times I said, 'Yes!' while reading this book.”

Kelly Gallagher
Teacher, Author, and Consultant

Fighting Fake News is a must read for every teacher. I plan to read it and reread because I know each time, I will be able to glean better information. I would love to have the opportunity to see this kind of instruction be put in to place.”

Lydia Bagley
Instructional Support Specialist

“Talk about timely! Fighting Fake News begins by describing the cognitive short-cuts we all (not just the fringe) are prone to—how we so easily fit information to pre-existing biases. The authors show how digital media exploit this tendency by directing us to sources that feed these prejudices. And they provide carefully crafted lessons to promote critical analysis and thoughtful citizenship. It's the book we need now.”

Thomas Newkirk
Professor Emeritus at the University of New Hampshire

Jeffrey D. Wilhelm

A classroom teacher for fifteen years, ?Jeffrey D. Wilhelm? is currently Professor of English Education at Boise State University. He works in local schools as part of a Virtual Professional Development Site Network sponsored by the Boise State Writing Project, and regularly teaches middle and high school students. Jeff is the founding director of the Maine Writing Project and the Boise State Writing Project.  More About Author

Michael W. Smith

Michael W. Smith, a professor in Temple University's College of Education, joined the ranks of college teachers after eleven years of teaching high school English. His research focuses on understanding both how adolescents and adults engage with texts outside school and how teachers can use those understandings to devise more motivating and effective instruction inside schools.  More About Author

Hugh Kesson

Hugh Kesson trained as a high school teacher in London and has since worked in a variety of educational roles and settings in the UK, US, and Australia. He earned his PhD at Temple University’s College of Education where his doctoral work investigated the influences of digital technologies on reading and reading instruction. Hugh's writing has appeared in English Teaching: Practice & Critique.  More About Author

Deborah Appleman

 Deborah Appleman is Professor of Educational Studies and Director of the Summer Writing Program at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. Her primary interests include adolescent response to literature, multicultural literature, and the teaching of literary theory to high school students. A high school English teacher for nine years, Deborah works weekly in urban and suburban high schools.  More About Author

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ISBN: 9781071854655