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Keep readers from leaving your site


This lesson will discuss how to improve a website quickly and simply with a focus on multimedia tools that are easy for students to use and include.


  • Students will be able to identify the audience for their stories.
    Students will be able to explain methods of making online stories easier for the reader to navigate.
  • Students will understand and incorporate strategies to keep readers engaged on a website.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to task, purpose and audience.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.3 Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.2 Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.


50 minutes


Slideshow: Keeping readers

Worksheet: Website evaluation

Computers or devices with internet access


Lesson step-by-step

1. Introduction — 5 minutes

Begin class with a simple discussion about which websites students visit on a daily basis and why. Possible responses include comments about sites that have new or fresh content, provide a service or something helpful, have relevant content or are entertaining. If students are reluctant to share or focus on sites about games, shopping or social media rather than more news-oriented websites, transition to a set of student-produced websites such as those from a list of recent awards or a few dynamic websites you selected ahead of time. The idea is to show students that good websites have common qualities, and staffers employ certain strategies to keep readers on the site as well as returning regularly.

2. Direct instruction and pair-share — 35 minutes

Next, use the slideshow presentation to deliver material about keeping readers on the site. Assign students to take notes during the presentation. As instructed from the slide notes, stop in a few key places for pair-share and possible class discussion.

Once the presentation is over, have students answer the following in their notes:

  • What was the main idea from the presentation?
  • What is one thing each student can do from this lesson to add to your story?
  • What is one piece of multimedia you could add to their next story?

An alternative to the written reflection in students’ notes is to use these questions as an exit ticket or class discussion to provide closure.

3. Practice

For homework, students will choose any news site and perform an evaluation using the worksheet provided.



Students can work in pairs to complete the website evaluation. Students without desktop computer access can complete the evaluation with phones by switching to “desktop view.” Advanced students can review the presentation on their own and complete the evaluation as a homework assignment in order to use class time for reporting and production toward stories in progress.