News programmes for kids - Behind the News

Do your kids watch the news or read the newspapers?  How do they start out? Diving straight into adult news reports can be difficult, intimidating or just downright boring for kids. So how do you get them interested and learning about what is happening in the world around them?

The News when I was a kid

Growing up in the UK in the 1980s I used to watch John Craven's Newsround. This was the world's first TV news programme aimed specifically at children. It was shown at the end of the children's programmes each weekday afternoon. This programme still runs today, although John Craven himself has retired from the show which is now just called "Newsround". I used to look forward to watching this show. It was interesting and I learned a lot that then enabled me to watch the news with my mum and dad and understand more about what was going on.

Australian TV News for kids

Here in Australia, the ABC has a children's news programme on each day, "3 News" which is aimed at younger children. There is then a weekly news programme aimed at upper primary and secondary children, called BTN (Behind the News).

I first came across BTN when I was teaching English as a foreign language and used it for listening exercises with my students. Our girls then began to watch it sometimes at their primary school, and recently we've rediscovered it via their website where you can watch all the stories, take quizzes and polls, and even learn how to become a reporter yourself.
There are also teacher resources available - with new ones being produced weekly based on two current news stories.

BTN is the perfect fit for our two girls, currently aged 9 and 11. They do have an interest in the news, but watching adult news programmes is a little too much for them - too detailed and long, and their background general knowledge isn't sufficient for them to understand many of the stories.

BTN simplifies the stories and provides the background information necessary to understand them. There are also a lot of fun stories to help hold their interest.

This is one website our girls will be returning to a lot and gaining plenty of information and knowledge from as well as having fun with it. I would definitely recommend it as a fun introduction to news stories for children.

Do your kids like to watch the news? Do they watch children's news programmes or the regular news reports with you?

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