Before you even begin your search for nonfiction and informative reading and writing websites for your students to use, it is extremely important that you’re able to recognize and understand what constitutes a valid and trustworthy website. But aren’t all news-reporting websites the same? If it’s on the internet, doesn’t that mean it real? No! Not at all! There are plenty of websites available to the public that do not focus on the actual truth, try to convince you to form an opinion a certain way, or report satire-style news reports. These are NOT the websites we want are our students to be researching for school related assignments, nor are they what we would call ‘reliable non-fiction.’
You can prevent your students from using websites that are NOT suitable for nonfiction and informative reading and writing assignments. There is specific criteria to be mindful of when evaluating a website for classroom use. The five main points you are looking for are: Authority, Accuracy, Objectivity, Currency and Coverage.
- Is there an author? Are they qualified or an expert?
- Who is the sponsor? Is that individual reputable?
- Is there a link to information about the author or sponsor?
- If the page includes neither a signature nor indicates a sponsor, is there any other way to determine its origin?
- Is the information reliable and error-free?
- Is there an editor or someone who verifies/checks the information?
- Do any other sources have the same information?
- Does the information show a minimum of bias?
- Is the page designed to influence your opinion?
- Are there any ads on the page?
- Is the page dated? If so, when was the last update?
- How current are the links?
- Have some expired or moved?
- What topics are covered?
- What does this page offer that is not found elsewhere?
- How in-depth is the material?