Introduction to Information Literacy in the K12 Classroom/Chapter 2

Introduction to Information Literacy in the K12 Classroom/Table of Contents

Introduction to Information Literacy in the K12 Classroom
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What is an Information Literacy Model and how is it relevant?


In 1989, the American Library Association (ALA) endorsed a widely held definition for Information Literacy, as the "ability to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information" (ALA,*). With the ability to connect to the Web, student access to all types of information is expanding. Because of this influx of information, students need to learn how to locate credible sources. A variety of information literacy models are available to help students locate reliable sources. These models provide steps for planning and conducting meaningful research. Educators are free to edit a model to fit the individual needs of a student, a classroom, or a discipline.

Information Literacy Models


There have been several models developed to help locate reliable information in the digital age. WebQuests, 5As and the Scientific method models have all been created to facilitate information literacy skills in the digital age.

  • Webquests provide a technology rich learning experience which utilizes several internet resources.
  • The 5As model lists five steps which help students become information literate. According to this model one must ask a key question, access relevant information, analyze information, apply it toward a task and finally assess the end result.
  • The scientific model method applies the scientific method towards information literacy. All of these models allow the users to walk through a problem by using technology.

Three of the most popular types of models include Search and Use, Information Inquiry, and Discipline Specific. Many different models exist within each of the three types. Search and Use models often involve gathering and processing information.

  • Information Inquiry models focus on questioning, researching, and analyzing the information at hand. The 8Ws, I-Search, Pathways to Knowledge, Webquests, and the Research cycle are all examples of this type of model.
  • Discipline Specific models are designed to aid in further understanding of a particular subject. The most common Discipline Specific model is the Scientific Method. Others include Math Out of the Box, Zoom-In Inquiry, and the Suchman Inquiry model.

While these are just a few of the examples of literacy models, many more exist, and creating a literacy model that is tailored to your classrooms needs can be a fun and exciting challenge (Callison & Lamb, 2006; Moss, 2008; Primary Source Learning, 2007; Prince William County Public Schools, 2008)!

More Models to Explore

* Super3




[1] [2]

* Composition [3]

* InfoZone (from the Assiniboine South School Division of Winnipeg, Canada.)







[4] [5]

* Irving's (Ann Irving)











* Noodle Tools (Debbie Abilock)





Examining, Selecting, Comprehending, Assessing

Recording, Sorting, Organizing, Interpreting

Communicating, Synthesizing


[7] [8]

* Pre-search (Virginia Rankin)

Presearch Strategies, Generating Questions, Student Assessment

Step 1 - Presearch

Step 2 - Plan the search

Step 3 - Search for information

Step 4 - Select information

Step 5 - Interpret and record information

Step 6 - Evaluate information

Step 7 - Communicate the information

Step 8 - Evaluate the process











[10] [11]

* FLIP IT (Alice Yucht)






[12] [13]

* ISP (Carol Kuhlthau)

Initiating a Research Assignment

Selecting a Topic

Exploring Information

Formulating a Focus

Collecting Information

Preparing to Present

Assessing the Process

[14] [15]

Research Steps to Success (Sandra Hughes)


1 preparing for research.

2 accessing resources.

3 processing information

4 transfer your learning

  • 8Ws

[16] · **Watching** (Exploring)

· **Wondering** (Questioning)

· **Webbing** (Searching)

· **Wiggling** (Evaluating)

· **Weaving** (Synthesizing)

· **Wrapping** (Creating)

· **Waving** (Communicating)

· **Wishing** (Assessing)

  • I-search


Phase 1: Becoming Immersed in a Topic and Generating a Question

Phase 2: Developing a Search Plan

Phase 3: Gathering and Integrating Information

Phase 4: Representing Knowledge

  • Pathways to knowledge


1. Appreication

2. Research

3. Search

4. Interrrpreation

5. Communication

6. Evaluation









  • Research asst


•Understand assignment

•Select topic

•General reading on topic

•Formulate thesis

•Conduct library research

•Make an outline

•Write a first draft

•Get supporting materials for argument

•Review and revise

•Final form

1. Task Definition

2. Information Seeking Strategies

3. Location and Access

4. Use of Information

5. Synthesis

6. Evaluation

Models Effectiveness


These information literacy models are effective tools and allow students to analyze information in a systematic method. They serve as a guide for students to learn and also as a guide to help teachers teach the concept of information literacy. These models can be very effective if teachers utilize them. The models show students that they can and should question the information presented to them, and they give students a method with which to judge. Many of these models use graphic organizers or numbered steps to help students break up their search of visualize what they are doing. They present a chronological order to help the student progress through the questioning path. They are directed to students and can be found for every grade and skill level. All of these tools are practical tools that will help organize student thought so that they may learn new information.

Comparison of Information Literacy Models

Figure 2.1 provides a visual comparison of various stages from a few strategies

Information literacy requires students to utilize their critical thinking skills in order to successfully uncover and synthesize information. Although designed to foster and promote inquiry by the students, each strategy has its own unique recipe to achieve this goal.

The Search & Use strategies are designed to promote higher-order thinking and decision making by students. The Information Inquiry Model provides opportunities for revision and reconsideration of the information while encouraging its integration. The Discipline Specific Models, unlike the others, were designed for certain areas of study, such as math and science.



ALA, Presidential Committee on Information Literacy, Final Report, Jan 10, 1989) Plattsburgh State University of New York (SUNY). Under definitions of information literacy.