COLUMBIA, South Carolina (WOLO) —
A new book aims to teach elementary school students how to spot misinformation and separate fact from fiction.
Faculty and staff with the University of South Carolina College of Information and Communication are tackling misinformation with their new children’s book titled “Dot buys a bike.”
The book is about a chicken named Dot and her friends who navigate the true and false information presented to them.
The book was read to second graders at AC Moore Elementary School by Cocky’s express readinga literacy program offered by the University of South Carolina.
The book’s co-author and USC content writer Rebekah Friedman says she and her colleagues noticed a gap in the literature when it came to teaching children about misinformation.
The book aims to fill this gap.
“When we asked 2nd graders today how many of them know YouTube, every hand went up. So already they know YouTube, they know TikTok, they know Instagram. And so it’s important that we start to have these conversations early,” says Friedman.
Valerie Byrd-Fort of Cocky’s Reading Express says it’s important for children to learn to evaluate the information they come in contact with.
“They’re going to grow up and keep seeing the news and reading the news and watching what’s happening on social media and they need to be able to think about it critically. And hopefully reading this book, and asking yourself questions at the end like “Who made this information? and ‘Can I trust this source?’ It will help them later in life and now,” says Byrd-Fort.
The book’s illustrator, Marius Valdes, says his background in graphic design helps him draw characters that children will enjoy and learn from.
“I’m not Rembrandt, I’m not someone who draws super elaborate pieces, so I think my work connects with kids on that level. In the sense that I use a lot of bright colors and strong shapes. I have a background in graphic design so there is a lot of minimalism in my work. And so I think the kids kind of relate to that,” Valdes says.
Cocky’s Reading Express does statewide reading for most elementary and middle school students.