Finding Answers in a Digital Age (page 2)

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Updated on Feb 11, 2013

Beyond Search Engines

Search engines aren't the only tools for doing research on a computer. Libraries also subscribe to databases that make it easy to find reference books, articles from newspapers and magazines, and facts. There are databases with information about animals, space, inventors, American history and more.

Your child will probably will need to go to the library to use these resources or get a library card so he can access them at home. But Gale says they are far more effective than a simple Web search. "Databases contain information that has already been vetted and has been put together by people who are already experts in their fields," she explains.

Rajna, who teaches kids in kindergarten through sixth grade, loves the two online encyclopedias her school subscribes to.

"Every time a kid asks me a question, I say, 'Let's look in the encyclopedia,' " she says. A bonus is that some encyclopedias have different versions for children in different grades.

A library card will probably give you at-home access to these encyclopedias. Rajna calls this another key tool for your child's homework assignments, just like a desk or dictionary.

No matter which information sources your child finds, Rajna says you might need to help them search within the words for the information they want.

"One of the stumbling blocks with kids is, they don't even know what to look up," she says. You might be able to help simply by encouraging your child to read an entire article or try a different search term within a database.

Information literacy is a skill your children will use throughout life. And knowing how to find what they're looking for, and learning that Internet searches aren't the only way to answer questions, will help them earn better grades on any assignment.

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