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Presentation presented at 2021 ACRL conference.

Learning objectives:

  • Become familiar with the practice and importance of lateral reading (LR) and the skills and mindsets it involves.
  • Become familiar with different approaches to teaching LR and challenges of learning and teaching about it.
  • Reflect on the potential relevance and applications of LR in your own teaching context.


Lateral reading - the process of moving off of a webpage to see what others say about it - has become critical for effectively evaluating online sources. While lateral reading appears simple, teaching it reveals layers of complexity, which include deciding where to place one’s trust; how some voices are privileged while others are marginalized; and the impulse of many online readers to focus more on surface features of web sources over more critical questions and analysis. Presenters from three institutions will share about their varied experiences teaching lateral reading to undergraduate students: in a credit-bearing information literacy course that explored information ethics and social justice in relation to networked media systems; through a scaffolded online tutorial through which students practice source evaluation with lateral reading; and in flipped information literacy instruction sessions designed for first-year writing classes on investigating sources and finding better coverage for news stories.