False and misleading information is rampant online, and people lack the skills and motivation to determine what to trust. To build the next generation of informed citizens, we need to adopt new ways to teach digital media literacy and source evaluation.

CIVIX has a solution

Named for the keyboard shortcut for ‘find,’ CTRL-F is an evidence-based program that equips students with the habits and skills needed to evaluate online information to determine what to trust.

A rigorous research study carried out with academic partners demonstrated that CTRL-F dramatically improved students’ ability to reject false claims, and identify credible sources.

A new way is needed

Popular checklists such as the CRAAP test ask students to assess information by looking at superficial signals. But analyzing a website for typos, contact information, or the number of ads on a page won’t tell us what we need to know.

These close-reading strategies have been proven to leave students vulnerable to trusting faulty information, and to dismissing reliable sources for the wrong reasons.

Instead we need to do what professional fact-checkers do: conduct quick and strategic web searches to learn key context about sources and claims. This is called lateral reading and it’s what CTRL-F is all about.

Simple but powerful skills

CTRL-F is built around learning and practicing three key 'lateral reading' strategies that fact-checkers use


What is information pollution, and how can we combat it?

the Source

Who made the information? What is their reputation?

Check the

Are known credible sources saying the same thing?

Trace the

What was the original source? Has the information changed in the re-telling?

Easy-to-use classroom tools

The learning module is packaged with engaging and current examples, drawn from a range of platforms. CTRL-F includes all of the support tools needed to bring contemporary digital media literacy instruction into the classroom.

This is a 7 hour, 4 part program, designed for students in grades 7-12. There are curriculum connections to Social Studies, English Language Arts, and materials can be adapted for any subject.

Access Resources

Free with registration:

  • Lesson plans, videos, slide decks, practice examples, activity sheets, and assessments
  • Engaging expert-led videos (YouTube playlist)
  • Interactive walkthroughs of practice examples (try a sample)
  • Multiple formats (Google Forms, Microsoft Forms)
  • Bilingual resources

Hands-on Workshops

CIVIX is offering a series of professional development sessions, to support bringing CTRL-F’s verification strategies to the classroom. Workshops will focus on guided practice using engaging examples from the CTRL-F curriculum.

Visit the Workshops page for more information and to register.

If you would like us to host a workshop at your school board or subject association PD please email us at [email protected].