The internet is full of information. However, it can be difficult to find information appropriate for younger readers. The right sources ARE out there! Here are some tips for younger students that have helped the younger researcher be succesful most of the time.
- Click Search tools at the top of a Google search results page.
- Click All Results.
- Click Reading level. You'll now see results annotated with reading levels as well as a percentage breakdown of results by reading level.
- To filter your results by a specific reading level, select your desired level - for most elementary students, click BASIC.
- At any time, you can click Clear to go back to seeing all results.
Try search engines for younger students
- KidRex- Wikipedia will appear in search results in KidRex. These articles are generally far too difficult for elementary readers and it is recommended other resources be found.
- InstaGrok - (basic overview of InstaGrok) - move the Einstein slider to the left for more basic results.
Use keywords to search
- Because every word matters in a search, it is important to use keywords for precise search results.
- This is an excellent overview for using keywords in your search as well as other great search tips.
Do not choose ask and answer websites
When students are researching for projects in school, they should generally use websites that are from reliable resources. This means to avoid sites where users can login and provide answers and contribute to the articles. Although it is true that the information may be correct, websites written by known experts should be used. Also, these are the type of websites that will often show up when a young student types in their search because they will often ask a search engine using the same language they use when they speak. For example, "How does rice grow in China?" instead of "rice grow china".
Sites that should be avoided for school research projects (unless otherwise stated by the teacher)
- Wikipedia - These articles generally have advanced reading levels making it difficult for younger grade readers. The articles may also contain incorrect information. However, it is an excellent place to start research with parent/adult support. A great wikipedia article will have many resources at the bottom of the article that can then be a platform for great research.
It is an ever changing landscape and these tips may evolve and change over time. I'd love to hear what works for you!