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The Teacher Tip

Help Students to Conduct Effective Internet Research

January 5, 2018

Adapted from Units of Study for Teaching Reading, Grade 3 by Lucy Calkins and Kathleen Tolan

Unit: Research Clubs: Elephants, Penguins, and Frogs, Oh My!


When your students need to move beyond your classroom library for their research, you may want to teach them how to find sources on the Internet. Here are a few ways to keep their searching on-task.

  • Use key terms in a search engine. Many students do not know how search effectively. They may enter too many words, or enter phrases only tangentially related to the information they seek. Teach students to enter only the words most directly related to their topic.
  • Try image searches. A single image can often provide a wealth of details. Studying images is a way for struggling readers to practice interpretation and gain knowledge without the barrier of decoding difficult words.
  • Question the reliability of online sources. A student’s online project on tree frogs will likely provide less trustworthy information than the website of National Geographic Kids.
  • Identify useful sources quickly. Watch for students who spend too much time searching online. Kids should identify appropriate articles quickly so that most of their time is spent      reading, not searching.
  • Preview online texts for readability. There is no leveled library when researching online. Remind students to preview      texts to make certain they are within reach.


To learn more about Units of Study for Teaching Reading, Grade 3 and download a sample chapter, visit

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