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RADCAB #2: Applying RADCAB to a Printed Information Source

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Lesson Overview:

In this lesson, students apply Christensson’s RADCAB model to evaluate a printed information source, usually a non-fiction book.  You must prepare the guiding questions and the books, so this will take a bit of time to set up.  The lesson provides samples, but you’ll need to use texts and relevant questions from your own collection.  Students can generally explain the model based on what they learned in the first lesson, but knowing the model and being able to use it are different skills.  I have taught this lesson for years, and most 5th grade students find it difficult to apply the concepts and explain their thinking.

Lesson Plan:

Suggested Grades:

4-5 and above


Given a guiding question and a non-fiction book, successfully apply the RADCAB Model to evaluate the book as a suitable information source.

AASL 1.1.4:  Find, evaluate, and select appropriate sources to answer questions.

Suggested Time:

40-50 minutes

Success Criteria:

Students will successfully apply the RADCAB criteria to a printed information source.  They will record their findings/assessment, and their teacher will review their work.

Lesson Outline:

1. Introduction:

Review the RADCAB model, including what it is used for and its components.

2. Main:

Give student pairs a non-fiction text and a guiding question.  Ask them to use the RADCAB model to decide whether the information source would be suitable for answering the research question.  Students will work in pairs so that they have someone to discuss the activity with.

3. Conclusion:

State that we will be using RADCAB again next week to evaluate a website.  The model is a useful one for every research project!

additional Resources:
  1. 13 nonfiction books with guiding questions (see attached Sample Guiding Questions) .
  2. RADCAB application sheet for a print source (see attached student handout.)

This lesson requires quite a bit more preparation effort because you will need to locate suitable books, write a matching guiding question, and have those matched and ready to go for the students before class time.

For this lesson, it is better to have the students work in pairs.  The concepts are not easy to apply and many students will benefit from talking this over with a partner.

The RADCAB model was developed by Library Media Specialist Karen Christensson.  Visit the RADCAB website here:  http://www.radcab.com/

Key Terms:

Information Source Evaluation, Information Literacy, RADCAB, Relevance, Appropriateness, Detail, Currency, Authority, Bias

Sample RADCAB guiding questions:

Sample RADCAB Guiding Questions

student handout:

Student Handout, RADCAB Printed Source Evaluation


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