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Peer Review

CNN Simplified News Stories



Overall Numeric Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Sep 17, 2005 by World Languages Editorial Board
Overview: This site uses archived CNN and CBS news articles and simplifies them for ESL
students. The site provides the original story along with an abridged version
and an outline. Each story has interactive activities for students to practice
with the vocabulary, sequencing and content of the story. These activities are
provided alongside the text so students can refer back to the text. The
activities provide immediate feedback to indicate if the answer is correct or
not. With each story there are also questions to prompt students to express
their ideas about the content of the news piece which can be emailed to the site
editors for posting.
Archived Stories are listed by category (12 of them) such as adventure,
crime, education and religion. There is also an instructor page to explain the
set up of the site and provide contact information for the director of
LitercyWorks. It also explains the technical requirements of the site in order
to view streaming video or listen to audio of the stories

Type of Material:
Recommended Uses:
Technical Requirements:
Identify Major Learning Goals: Practice in written and aural comprehenion for learners of ESL
Target Student Population: Learners of ESL
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: High beginning proficiency

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The site provides new articles in the original and abridged versions and
addresses reading, writing, and listening skills. The editors of the articles
have taken care to not just change vocabulary here and there to simplify the
stories, but rather the editors took the time to edit sentences with unclear
concepts and to modify advanced vocabulary. Each story follows the same pattern
and the interactive activities are set up in a column on the left hand side of
the story to allow for easy navigation.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: This site can be used to practice most skills. Extra Reading/Writing and
Listening/Speaking along with Cultural activities can be easily developed to
compliment the stories. Students can read the stories and work on the activities
on their own as feedback is provided. If there are mixed ability students in
one class, all three versions, the original, abridged and outline, can be used.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The stories along with the interactive exercises do not require any extra
programs besides the Internet. There is also an external link to Cambridge
Dictionary for students to look up any word at any time. There are clear icons
when audio and video is available of a new story. Both the audio and video are
extremely clear. There is also a page that explains the programs needed to view
audio and video. Except when viewing a particular story and activities, there is
always a clearly labeled navigation bar. The navigation bar is the same
throughout the site.

Other Issues and Comments: