Facts vs. Opinions: Examples, Games & Activities

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  • 0:01 Defining Facts & Opinions
  • 0:41 Purpose in Education
  • 2:01 Teaching
  • 3:16 Reinforcing with Games…
  • 5:08 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde
Being able to discriminate between facts and opinions is an important reading skill elementary students need to understand. But how do you tell the difference between the two? Luckily, there's a straightforward way to teach fact and opinion. That's a fact. Trust me.

Defining Facts & Opinions

An important part of reading comprehension is determining what a fact is and what an opinion is. To understand more completely, let's define each. A fact is a statement that is true and can be verified objectively, or proven. In other words, a fact is true and correct no matter what. An opinion, however, is a statement that holds an element of belief; it tells how someone feels. An opinion is not always true and cannot be proven. In education, children as young as kindergarten engage in conversation about fact and opinion. Why is this skill important enough to teach? Let's take a closer look.

Purpose in Education

Instructing young children on the terms and concepts of fact and opinion is a little like their emerging math skills - begin with the basics and allow for more information to come as they mature. We teach fact and opinion as a reading and analytic skill necessary for understanding and mentally processing text. Knowing the difference between fact and opinion helps readers make sense of information. Outside of reading and writing, children will come to recognize facts and opinions in their language. Hopefully, their choice of words when describing emotions or experiences will become more accurate as they grasp the nuanced nature of facts and opinions.

Instruction of facts and opinions builds on high-level thinking skills, such as explaining, proving, and defending. Examples of facts and opinions are:

Fact:

  1. Dogs have fur.
  2. The Beatles were a band.
  3. The last day of school is May 22nd.

Opinion

  1. Dog fur is pretty.
  2. The Beatles sang great songs.
  3. May 22nd is the best day of the year.

In reading passages, the difference between fact and opinion isn't always quite so clear. Students can identify fact and opinion in isolation accurately, so make sure to apply it to reading.

Teaching

Students may encounter fact and opinion questions on standardized tests. Sometimes, they'll have to distinguish between fact and opinion statements, but often they're called upon to determine if a statement within the text is fact or opinion. Practice this skill directly by modeling as a whole group, practicing in small groups, and then allowing students to practice independently.

fact or opinion

An example of a reading passage fact/opinion question is:

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