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If you’ve ever found yourself stumped on how to navigate current events for kids, explaining news bias again and again, or searching for one, single piece of uplifting news to share, I’ve got an online resource you’re going to love. Read on for our full review of a new source for kids that promotes critical thinking and media literacy.
Disclosure: We received this product free of charge and compensation for our time to prepare an honest review. For more information see our disclosure policy.
It’s tricky to explain what’s going on in the world. Googling “how to explain (insert current events) to kids” natural disasters, politics, and world events more times that I can count. Never has this been more apparent than over the last year. Our K-5 vocabulary list has evolved to include words like pandemic, quarantine, racism, stimulus, riot, brutality, unemployment, wildfires... Not to mention everything that went with the not-peaceful-at-all transfer of power.
As an adult it’s challenging to slog through sensationalized headlines and slanted news stories. But we take the time to sort out the facts to make an informed opinion. And for kids? Without a solid set of critical thinking skills in place, it’s next to impossible.
When even the local newspaper endorses a candidate, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find unbiased current event articles for kids. I want my children to learn how to make informed opinions, to come to their own conclusions. Not to be constantly influenced by flashy headlines or even my own biased views. This is why I was thrilled to discover The Juice, an online news source for kids that sticks to the facts, encouraging media literacy and putting critical thinking front and center.
Current Events for Kids: The Juice
The Juice is an online news source designed for kids from fifth through twelfth grade. News stories are presented as just the facts. You’ll find a wide variety of engaging, topical stories as well as videos, vocabulary, and an easy-to-use interface. Monday through Friday your and your kids receive an email with daily headlines – easily accessible from any browser or read on your phone. The following is what you can expect from your daily Juice plus a few benefits that make this program really stand out.
First, take a peak at what you’ll see inside.
Short, to-the-point, stories about current events for kids
Firstly, The Juice isn’t pulling any punches! You will see the same top news headlines here as on the leading news channels. These stories are short and understandable, written in about 200 words. The difference, though, is that these stories are clearly fact-based reporting with no editorializing or sensationalism.
This is fantastic because my 5th grader is as current on world news as we are. He can participate in conversations, ask questions, and form his own opinions. He’s no longer passively listening to our daily discussions about the news but actively participating.
You’ll also find inspiring stories that can be hard to come by on the evening news. Sharing the news with your kids (and reading it to yourself) can be pretty depressing at times. The Juice delivers at least one uplifting story each day, covering stories of adults and kids that are making a positive impact on the world.
Four options for reading level from grades 5-12
Next, when you sign up, you’ll be able to choose a reading level for each of your kids. Homeschool subscriptions come with up to 5 accounts per family. Each level gets the same stories every day, however the sentence length and structure, vocabulary, and concepts are matched to your child’s level to make articles understandable. A fifth grader’s understanding of difficult concepts is different from an eleventh grader’s. The Juice provides support, definitions, and explanations of current events without watering down the stories for kids.
Additionally, The Juice presents news stories in both written and audio format. This is helpful on so many levels from knowing how to pronounce names and foreign words to providing a scaffold for students who struggle with reading comprehension or learning differences. I’ll also note: the audio is computer generated – further helping to separate emotional bias and focus on the facts.
Videos, infographics, and quizzes
As adults, we rarely consume news through reading articles alone. The Juice provides a variety of engaging components that your kids can interact with each day:
- STEAM videos: Each day you’ll receive an educational video related to science, technology, engineering, arts and culture, and/or math (STEAM). These are short, under 5 minutes in length, and cover a wide variety of topics from fun life hacks to book reviews to simple projects and more.
- Infographics: You’ll also find a daily custom created, interactive infographic each day. This is a chart, diagram, or visual aid to help kids understand one of articles or current topics they’ve been exploring. Kids can click or tap the infographics to get more information about each part. It’s a great way to dig into relevant data and statistics.
- Interactive quizzes: Each article leads to an interactive quiz that provides a quick comprehension check for the story. These are great from a parent’s perspective to gauge your child’s understanding, but I’ve found that it’s also a great support for my son to check himself. In reading through his answers, he’s getting clarification and explanations that he needs to fully understand the story.
Using The Juice in your Homeschool, Class, or Co-op
My kids have enjoyed keeping up with current events on The Juice, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a news source for their kids. This program lends itself well to structured lesson planning, whether you’re homeschooling, with a tutor or class, or teaching co-op.
Reading: Because you can select different reading levels, this is a great source for daily reading practice and vocabulary. Comprehension checks are built in with the interactive quizzes, and you can track of your kids’ results in the teacher portal.
Mathematics and STEAM: Additionally, The Juice is a great supplement for bringing relevant world events into your math and STEM/STEAM classes. Kids have an opportunity to access real-life data and charts and see how this information connects to current events.
Social Studies: This can supplement and support any social studies or history program by focusing on real-time news stories. Connect news with historical events, learn about government processes, and encourage critical thinking and informed opinions and decision making.
I can’t emphasize enough how much this program has changed the way we discuss the news in our family. I am a parent who, admittedly, spins stories toward the bright side. However, these short, to-the-point articles have given me support to dig into difficult topics. Breaking complicated topics down with a curious fifth grader that has a difficult time understanding “why?”
My son now has a source for unbiased news that he can access freely. The Juice makes the news engaging, understandable, and relatable. This has sparked interest, prompted many questions, lead to some important conversations, and aided in his understanding of current events.
If you’re looking for a resource that encourages critical thinking with a focus on literacy and comprehension, I highly recommend The Juice. This program is accessible from any browser or mobile device. Start with a free trial and sign up for this affordable news source for less than $1/week.
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Ashley helps parents who want to homeschool find the resources they need to successfully teach their children. Ashley is a former teacher, current homeschooler, published author, and designer behind Circle Time with Miss Fox printables as well as the creator of this website, The Homeschool Resource Room.