Sharing current events with kids is a delicate matter: it is not always appropriate, sometimes the articles are written in language that is incomprehensible for kids, and often it is overridden with violence and negativity. I scoured the internet and talked to teachers to see which online sites had news for kids. I found lots of fantastic sites that are both age appropriate and engaging, and came up with this list of sources.
Newsela is a great place for different ages and reading levels, and let’s users adjust the level within the article. The blue column on the right has different buttons, and as you click (1160L, 990L, 880L, etc) the article slightly changes in vocab and grammar to the chosen level. There are also articles in Spanish!
From the Smithsonian, we have high interest news articles written with different Lexile levels: TTJunior (grades K-4), TweenTribune (grades 5-6), and this version of TweenTribune for grades 7-8), and then TeenTribune for High School (grades 9-12). They also have a Spanish section for current events, written in Spanish that is understandable for maybe Spanish 3 and up?
CNN News for Kids has daily updates on interesting news stories.
TIME for Kids: World covers major current events in a way that kids can understand.
Scholastic: while it is known for its printed, classroom “magazines,” Scholastic also has on-line news for kids.
Science News for Students: as it indicates- fantastic for secondary level. Each article indicates its Flesch-Kincaid grade-level score of 6.0 to 9.0.
Sports Illustrated for Kids: NFL, hockey, and baseball news; great especially for reluctant readers who love sports.
PBS Newshour Extra: Resources for teachers and news for students grades 7-12 (ages 12-18).
Other News Sources & Lessons for Kids
The Learning Center from the New York Times has on-line lessons for kids categorized by subject, plus writing prompts, quizzes, games, and multimedia. This would work well for teachers to choose a specific activity for their students, such as the “Article of the Day” (first turquoise box on the top left). I love this feature, and can see how teens and my ESL students would benefit from the pre- and post- questions and the critical thinking.
First News is an award-winning, weekly, (paid subscription) UK-national newspaper for children aged 7 to 14, with articles on entertainment, politics, sports, and science, as well as major news stories from the UK and around the world.
Also notable is the BBC Newsround for kids, but it is mostly videos instead of written articles.
Online News Sites for Kids in Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish. What a fun list put together by “Expat Since Birth!”