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Are These Stories True? (Nope.)

An informational text about fake news from the 15th century until today (with plenty of tips on how to recognize fake news) is paired with a Jewish folktale about a boy who learns a lesson about spreading false stories.

By Kristin Lewis with Reporting by Adee Braun
From the May 2017 Issue

Learning Objective: to apply an idea from a folktale to information presented in a nonfiction text; to identify strategies for avoiding fake news

Lexile: 960L (article) 690L (folktale)
Other Key Skills: key ideas, text features, inference, synthesis, theme, key details
Topic: SEL,
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Answer Key (1)
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Answer Key (1)
Step-by-Step Lesson Plan

Close Reading, Critical Thinking, Skill Building

1. PREPARING TO READ 

2. READING AND DISCUSSING 

3. SKILL BUILDING 

Differentiated Writing Prompts
For On-Level Readers

In this folktale, the rabbi teaches Yankel a lesson. Describe how that lesson applies to fake news. What can be done to protect against fake news? Use text evidence from both the article and the folktale to support your ideas.

For Struggling Readers

In a well-organized paragraph, explain why fake news is a problem and what can be done to solve this problem. Support your answers with evidence from “Are These Stories True? (Nope.)”

For Advanced Readers

Use information in “Are These Stories True? (Nope.)” to analyze a news article you find online. Describe your process: What you analyzed, the results, and your conclusion about whether the article is legitimate or fake.

Literature Connection: Connect to novels that explore how and why information is spread

The Book Thief 
by Markus Zusak

Fahrenheit 451 
by Ray Bradbury

Feed 
by M.T. Anderson