Reading for Bias
Year 7’s often struggle with Reading for Bias so I spend two sessions on this topic – starting with a basic session looking at Fact and Opinion.
Firstly I hand out two slips of card with the letter “F” and “O” written on them and remind them about the different types of reading and the one that is most often forgotten is Reading for Bias.
So what does the letter “F” and “O” have to do with reading for bias?
Some groups need a little bit more prompting or clues than others with many sounding confident with their initial answer of “For and Against… Oh that’s wrong.”
We then talk about the differences between Facts and Opinions, and about how you can prove or measure facts but opinions are what someone thinks.
The hard bit is when a writer (of a newspaper article or a webpage) uses both together – that’s when you need to read carefully looking for bias.
I put a series of statements onto the screen and the students need to decide if it is a fact (can be proved/measured) or an opinion (what someone thinks), they then hold up their “F” card if they think the statement is a fact, or the “O” card if they think it is an opinion.
The fun begins when statements such as…
Coca-cola tastes better than Pepsi
McDonald’s burgers taste better than Burger Kings
They tend to be better at spotting a fact – but get misled when they agree with the opinion.
The last statement causes the biggest stir…
Why do so many agree with this opinion (no really it is an opinion!) – could they possibly be biased?
They then have a go at writing three facts and opinions – about themselves, their best friend and their home.
The last topic is the one that fools them the most with ‘facts’ such as “my house is big” and I often ask them what the Queen would think if she visited their home!