Reading, writing, fighting fake news

Updated 9:47 AM ET, Wed March 29, 2017

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(CNN)"Jennifer Aniston did WHAT to her hair?" screams the headline.

Below the headline is a photo of the actress with a military buzz cut, along with a quote about how she'd shorn her iconic blonde locks for a role.
The online article, printed on handouts that Alexis Gerard has distributed to her class at Clemente Middle School in Germantown, Maryland, is startling. It's irresistible.
It's fake.
Students at Clemente Middle School in Germantown, Maryland, read a made-up story about actress Jennifer Aniston.
Gerard is using the story to remind the 11- and 12-year-olds they shouldn't believe everything they read online.
"There's so much fake news out there, they really don't know what's true anymore," Gerard says.
That's why educators like her around the world have launched programs to help students navigate this bewildering media landscape.
In the Czech Republic, high schools teach teens to identify propaganda from Russia.
In Sweden, students as young as 10 are schooled on how to consume news.
And in Pennsylvania, a state lawmaker wants mandatory media literacy classes in all public schools.
"The sophistication in how this false information is disguised and spread can make it very difficult for someone, particularly young people, to determine fact from fiction," says Rep. Tim Briggs.

Fake news and kids

Kids are web savvy. But that doesn't necessarily mean they're media savvy.
A survey by Common Sense Media, released earlier this month, really brought home that point.
In it, 44% of tweens and teens said they can tell the difference between fake news stories and real ones. But more than 30% admitted they shared a news story online -- only to find out later that it was wrong or inaccurate.