about what's in the news at
The American Western/ Pacific Literacy Network along with CNN San Francisco have developed online learning resources that are a definite must see. This professional website contains an archive of current and past CNN news stories and educational activities to go along with them. The articles cover a variety of topics including discussion provoking ones such as politics, religion and crime.
Each story comes with three different versions of a written article, a video clip and an audio clip. The multimedia broadcast clips are definitely the highlight of the site. The video and audio are presented in different formats but as long as your browser has RealPlayer G2 you should be able to play them. (If you have any difficulties visit their Help section.) Unfortunately, the main audio clip provided doesnt match the written text exactly making it difficult for students to read along with the audio but it may provide a context to the article that could assist students with the reading. A handful of the articles do come with an audio clip of Greg Lefevre, CNN SF Bureau Chief and Correspondent, reading the text. If students use these audio clips they can read along and get help with words they may not be able to read. This also encourages students to improve their reading speed. Heres a sample of some of the stories that contain this audio feature: Unwanted Research Chimps, Kennewick Man Skeleton Dispute, Monarch Butterflies, Putting up with Pain, Solar Flyer, Japanese Freighter Grounded Off Oregon Coast, and Grand Canyon Crowding.
Three different versions of the written article are included: the Story, the Abridged Story and the Story Outline. The Story version is unaltered. The Abridged Story is a slightly simplified version with some of the more difficult words removed. Although it is simplified and often shorter in length, it is still most suited to intermediate and advanced literacy students. The Outline provides the main topics covered in the article. This section could be used in an introduction to composition writing. Keep in mind when you are using the written articles, occasionally the width of the text may be wider than your computer screen. The webmaster of the site suggests the easiest way to overcome this is to decrease the font size in your browser. (This feature is only available in newer browsers.) At the bottom of each article students are also provided useful links to related CNN stories and other websites.
After students have listened to the clips and read the story they can test their vocabulary and reading comprehension by trying the accompanying activities. The Activities are made up of the following types of multiple choice questions: Vocabulary, Word Selection, Finish the Sentence, Sequencing and Conclusions. The students receive feedback on their answers immediately. The last activity is Your Turn. Here students can write their opinions on the topic discussed in the article and email it to the website. Before students do this, they should realize their writing will be posted for others to read. Alternatively students could print their writing and give it to their teacher. The writing posted by other students from around the world can be an interesting additional reading activity.
To try out the site for yourself, visit: http://www.literacynet.org/cnnsf
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