February 25th, 2020Posted By Naomi Weeks

Myth-busting Toolkit

Have you got what it takes to sort fact from fiction? Why not test your critical literacy skills together this World Book Day?

This year, we're joining the good folks at World Book Day to help meet their aim to Share A Million Stories in the UK and Ireland. 

For our World Book Day campaign here at b small, we want to encourage you to read non-fiction stories, or information books. The world of kids' non-fiction is bright, brilliant and fantastic, and can be incredibly inspiring, fun, and weird. 

As well as helping spread the joy and awesomeness of non-fiction books for kids, our plans this year are to promote critical literacy books and reading, to help kids think for themselves, question everything and foil fake news.  

Part of your story sharing this year could be reading news stories, myths, legends or folklore together, then looking at the evidence in order to decide whether it's #Fact or #Fiction. 

These are the key steps to follow when trying this investigative activity: 

1) Look
2) Read
3) Listen
4) Check Facts
5) Ask Questions
6) Think for Yourself!

Here is an example of the process you could use when reading a popular myth/ news story together, in our case the famous myth of the Loch Ness Monster...
Wilson/Keystone/Getty Images
Wilson/Keystone/Getty Images. Known as the 'Surgeon's photograph', this picture was later revealed to be a hoax!

1) Look 

This is the first thing you'll do when you start your research. Look for sources to use and gather them all up. Here are some we found for our Loch Ness Monster research: 

*TIP* You want to get sources from lots of different places, people and times. Because the first sighting of Nessie was a long time ago, try and find some sources from that time as well. Use books as well as websites, and try and avoid Wikipedia if you can! 

BBC: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-49495145
Live Science: https://www.livescience.com/26341-loch-ness-monster.html
The Loch Ness Monster, by Martin Delrio: https://archive.org/details/lochnessmonster0000delr/page/48
BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3096839.stm
Snopes (a great site for fact checking!): https://www.snopes.com/

2) Read

Read! Read broadly, and a lot. Read all your sources carefully. Don't forget to read both sides of the story and keep your mind open! 

Is this what the Loch Ness monster looks like?

3) Listen (or watch!)

Watch videos or listen to sound clips in order to broaden your research. This can be a great way of seeing evidence for yourself!

First ever recording (1930's) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZO0--ir6LI
Tim Dinsdale's film (1960's): https://www.themanwhofilmednessie.com/tims-nessie-film.html
Gordon Holmes' film (2007): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtPlz14qFOA

4) Check Facts

You've done your reading, listening and watching, and should have a good idea of the events that took place. Now it's time to fact check- how much of the evidence you've seen can be verified? Did the sources you read agree on everything, or did some of them say something different?

*TIP* A good rule of thumb when checking facts is to verify stories with two other credible sources. The more sources that are saying the same thing, the more likely that a story is true. 

Here's a snapshot of some Nessie research from Real-Life Mysteries, our myth-busting bible. You could try making a corkboard with photos, evidence and mind maps like this one! 

5) Ask Questions

Does something in your research not quite add up? Never be afraid to ask! Search the web to see if someone else has had the same question before you. You might find answers right away, or you might need to do some more digging. Asking questions is how we learn - never be afraid to challenge an idea! Remember - QUESTION EVERYTHING! 

6) Think for Yourself!

Don't believe everything that you read. Make your own mind up! Was Nessie real, or just a hoax? What do you think of the evidence? What do you believe or not believe? 


You just solved your very first case. You Questioned  Everything, and Thought for Yourself! Don't forget to add this activity to your Share a Million Stories page. 

Want to investigate more? Real-Life Mysteries is the book for you! Download our 'Tips for Investigators' poster here.
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Tags: activity, non-fiction, classroom ideas, Critical Literacy
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