college_and_research_libraryIt’s widely recognized that students don’t do a good job evaluating sources. Being able to evaluate sources is a skill that’s needed in every discipline. If you want a reminder about what Informational Literacy is, read this overview by the Association of College and Resource Libraries.

The growing importance of teaching these skills is what inspired social studies teachers in Dix Hills, New York to focus this year on building students informational literacy skills.  They recently started a trial of Listenwise Premium because they see public radio as a way to teach students these crucial skills.   Project Information Literacy has a collection of research supporting why it’s important middle and high school students learn how to source properly in the digital age.

Lorraine Lupinskie, the Social Studies coordinator for the Half Hallow Hills School District told her middle and high school teachers that students need to learn the following informational literacy skills:

  • Corroboration
  • Contextualization
  • Sourcing


Students must learn to find multiple sources to corroborate evidence. Because they do most of their research on the internet, it’s even more important for them to sort out what is valid.  Ms. Lupinskie wants to add public radio as reliable source for corroborating evidence when students are collecting evidence. Public radio content is credible because it is being written, edited and produced by recognized news sources, said Ms. Lupinskie.


How do students put what they learn into context? Connecting and accessing historic content through real world new stories helps students see the relevance and real world context of what they are learning. Ms. Lupinskie told her teacher that public radio stories do a very good contextualize the information for a general audience, which can be accessible to secondary school students.


There is a lot of information on the internet, and this article from Multimedia and Internet @ Schools about how to critically evaluate it will help teachers navigate sourcing on the internet. Unfortunately a recent study by the Massachusetts School Library Association found that most students leave high school without good informational literacy skills.

 By focusing on these three key skills, Ms. Lupinskie says her teachers will helping their students with a life long skill.