Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Is that a Fact? Reading the Newspaper

Kelly Allen


Students will be given a newspaper article. They will predict the content based on the title, read and chart fact and opinion statements, and conclude by summarizing the article.


The student uses prior knowledge integrated with text features to generate questions and make predictions about content of text.

The student uses a variety of strategies to monitor reading in fourth-grade or higher texts (for example, rereading, self-correcting, summarizing, checking other sources, class and group discussions, questioning whether text makes sense, searching for cues, identifying miscues).

The student identifies examples of fact, fiction, or opinion in text.


-Newspaper articles
-Is That A Fact Worksheet (Download attached file.)


1. Gather newspapers and scan for appropriate articles. You can choose one article and make copies, one for each student, or you can cut out a different article for each student. You may even want to allow the students to choose their own article. If you make copies of an article, make sure you check with the newspaper for copyright permission. (Choosing the same article will cause your assessment to be less time consuming.)

2. Download, print, and make copies of “ Is That A Fact” worksheet, one for each student.


1. Introduce the lesson by asking the students, “Boys and girls, should you believe everything you hear? Should you believe everything you read?” Allow for student

2. Ask the students questions that will lead them to the words -fact- and -opinion.- Clarify for the students the difference between a fact and an opinion. Write an example of each on the board. Have the students point out which sentence is a fact and which sentence is an opinion.

3. Point out key words that are sometimes found in opinion statements. (For example, sometimes opinion statements will have words such as -always,- -never,- 'best,- -most,- -think,- -feel,- -maybe,- … or an opinion will give information that can not be proven. Predictions can also be pointed out as being opinions, like “The Braves will win the World Series this year.” Also, include that any statement that has to do with a person’s thought can not be proven, so it would be considered an opinion. Give numerous examples of opinions and have the students respond to the reasons why the statements are opinions. You can use examples from the newspaper to relate to what the students will be doing later on.

4. Discuss the definition of a fact and give numerous examples. Remind the students that a fact is a statement that can always be proven and it is always considered to be true. (You can use one of the student’s textbooks or the newspaper to illustrate this.)

5. After this discussion, hand out the students' newspapers and the “Is That A Fact?” worksheet. Point out to the boys and girls that many people don’t have time to read the entire newspaper so they scan the title of the articles, predict what each article might be about, and then choose the articles that they are interested in reading. Review with them what predicting means and how it is useful when reading.

6. Have the students read only the title of their article, and then have them predict what they think it will be about. Have them record this prediction on their worksheet.

7. Next, tell the students that you would like for them to read their article carefully. Then they are to go back through the article and pick out sentences that are facts and sentences that are opinions. They are to record these onto the chart on the worksheet. Remind them to analyze the sentences carefully before recording these onto their chart. They should number their facts and opinions as they enter them onto the chart. You may want to set specific guidelines as to how many of each they must record.

8. After about 30 minutes, have the students share some of the facts and opinions they have found in their articles. Allow students to confirm or reject each others examples and give reasons for their opinions. Allow students to repair any mistakes that they might have on their charts.

9. Finally, remind the students that a summary restates the main events of a passage, and ask them to write a summary of the article that they read. This summary can be written on their worksheet. (You can have the students share their summaries afterwards.)


-Teacher observation and class discussion
-Teacher Assessment of “Is That A Fact” worksheet


You can extend this lesson by having the students take the opinions from their chart and rewrite them so that they are facts. Then they can rewrite the facts changing them into opinions.

Modifications can be made by choosing articles that your students will be successful in reading. Pairing up students, or peer tutoring, is another possibility.

A follow-up activity can be done in which the students write and word-process their own articles. These can be put together to make a class newspaper.

Attached Files

-“Is That A Fact?” worksheet     File Extension: pdf

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