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Eleven best research websites for elementary students in English and Spanish 

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Have you ever worried about using online resources to teach research in upper elementary? Are you afraid that with a click of a button, your students will be on an inappropriate website viewing content that makes you cringe? Well, fear not! In this blog post, I have compiled a list of the eleven best research websites for elementary students that will help you take a deep breath of relief. 

In my opinion, these are some of the best research websites for elementary students. Not only do these websites offer amazing content, but they also do so safely. If you are interested in seeing my picks for the best research websites for elementary students, keep on reading. 

Before we dive into this week’s blog post, have you seen my FREE teaching strategies guide for dual-language teachers? In this guide, I am sharing nine teaching strategies that will help you set your students on a path towards biliteracy and bilingualism. These are strategies you can start implementing immediately and see amazing results. Click here to get your own copy of the free guide. You can thank me later! 

Why should we teach research in upper elementary?

Not only is research a standard that we are required to cover in upper elementary, but it is also an important life skill. Especially in the world we live today in which most people consume information via social media, it is important to teach our students how to conduct their own research to verify the validity of the information they are reading.

Finding reputable sources 

When teaching our students to verify their sources, we must expose them to the best research websites for elementary students. We want our students to be using reliable sources. 

Websites should be:

  • unbiased 
  • fact-based 
  • reputable 

We must teach students to put their sources “to the test” in order to determine they are appropriate. Providing upper elementary students with a curated list of the best websites for research will give them examples of what to look for in the future. 

Picture of a young girl on a computer with the title "kid-friendly best websites for research"
Stop searching all over the internet for the best websites for research in upper elementary! I did the work for you, so you don’t have to.

Things to look for in safe research websites for kids 

When I look for the best research websites for elementary students, there are a few things I like to keep in mind. 

I like to avoid websites with outbound links as much as I can. Outbound links are links that will take the user to a completely different website. These other web pages are in no way controlled by the owner of the website to which they are linked. This means that even if these pages were vetted at some point, updates could have been made to change their content. What was once appropriate for upper elementary students may no longer be. 

If I choose to use a website with outbound links, such as ads, I explicitly instruct my students NOT to click on those links. 

Does the website have ads or pop-ups?

As a general rule of thumb, I always avoid websites with pop-up ads. I can never anticipate what ads will populate in each child’s computer, and that scares me. I prefer to err on the side of caution and avoid those websites altogether. 

Paid websites are usually the safest websites for kids. They don’t depend on ads, and their resources are carefully curated for our young learners. Basically, they don’t want to upset their paying customers by allowing something inappropriate to show up unexpectedly. 

Most schools and districts pay for at least a few of these websites. If you are not sure whether or not you have a subscription, ask your librarian. She will be able to give you that information. 

In addition, some of these paid websites offer a free-trial period. You can always create a free account to use as you begin your research unit. 

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These safe research websites for kids are a must!
Free kid-friendly research websites that require an account

Some free websites require you to create a free account before you can use it. Those often don’t have any ads because they usually offer paid upgrades that offset their costs. Similar to paid websites, they want users to have a pleasant experience and pay for the upgrade. And there is nothing more frustrating for users than annoying pop-ups and ads. 

Most of the time, you don’t have to upgrade to have access to a lot of their content. Many will allow you to create a class code, so your students don’t have to create their own accounts. They can just use the class code to have access to the free library. 

The best research websites for elementary students

As promised, I have compiled a list of the eleven best research websites for elementary students. I have divided this list into websites that are only available in English, and sites that are available in English and Spanish. I have also included my three favorite search engines to use with students. 

Please, keep in mind that anytime we allow students to have access to the internet, we must do so carefully. Although I am including these websites in this list, you should still exercise caution. Things on the internet can change in the blink of an eye. I cannot be held responsible for what your students could potentially encounter during their research. Please, make sure you are monitoring students to ensure their safety. 

A young girl with a rainbow tee-shirt working on a computer. Text overlay reads, "Eleven research websites for kids in English and Spanish"
These research websites for kids are safe and user-friendly. Keep this list for the next time you are teaching research in upper elementary.

Best kid-friendly websites for research in English 

National Geographic Kids 

I love National Geograpic Kids! Their site has no ads, annoying pop-ups, or links that will take your students to the unsafe corners of the internet. From science to history, to space, there is so much information written in kid-friendly language. I think students would be able to find information on most topics on their website. Top-notch! 

DK Find Out 

DK Find Out is a great website for students to dip their toes into their research topic. Students will be intrigued by the bite-size information on this website. I love the text features in each of their articles. They are very eye-catching and often link to other web pages within their website, so students can continue to learn about the topic. 

Although I would not expect my students to complete an entire research project on DK Finder, they would definitely be able to find a lot of key details and interesting facts to “beef up” their research. 

The best part of all – no ads, pop-ups, or outbound links!

Ducksters 

Ducksters is a no-fuss, easy-to-use website for research. Unfortunately, this website does have a minimal amount of ads, but I have used it multiple times without a problem.

I love Ducksters because students can find information on just about anything. They also explain things in a very kid-friendly way while still providing a lot of information. 

Wonderopolis 

The first time I came across this website, I was hooked. I love how Wonderopolis takes topics that kids find interesting and turns them into fact-filled, high-interest articles. They have a very large library, making it easy to find information on multiple topics. 

Some of my favorite features of Wonderopolis are the immersive reader and the interactive glossary. Students who struggle with reading can listen to the article being read to them. Students can also hover over some of the words in the article to read their definitions. 

Wonderopolis is 100% ad-free! 

Flocabulary 

Flocabulary is a paid website that offers videos about a multitude of topics in hip-hop form. From math to science, to current events, there is so much opportunity for learning. All the information is in video/song form, so students will have to listen to it and take notes. I actually love that because it helps students with paraphrasing. 

Although Flocabulary is a paid website, they offer a free 30-day trial with no strings attached. You don’t even have to give them your credit card information. You can then create a class and give students a class code, so they can use the website to conduct their research. 

Since Flocabulary is a paid website, there are no links to other websites. 

Time For Kids 

Time for Kids is a “news-based” website for kids with thousands of articles. This website would be a great option if students are researching a specific current event. Because these are news articles, students will have to dig a little deeper to find more specific information. But this is a great option if students are looking to add some interesting facts to their research. 

This website is very kid-friendly and safe with no ads, pop-ups, or outbound links. 

Kid-safe websites for research in Spanish (and English) 

As a dual-language teacher, I am always looking for resources in Spanish that I can share with y’all. I am so happy to say that I was able to come up with five great options for safe research websites for kids in Spanish. 

BrainPop Español

BrainPop is one of my favorite websites to use in the classroom, and I love that they have a version all in Spanish. Anytime my students work on a research project in Spanish, they know they can use BrainPop Español as one of their sources. 

Since a lot of the information is in video form, I teach my students how to take notes during the video. This is a great way to teach students how to paraphrase since they are not seeing the words on a page. I also show my students how to use some of the related resources to see if they can find more information on their topic. 

BrainPop Español is a paid website, but in my experience, most schools have access to it. If you are not sure, ask your school librarian. 

Britannica Escolar

Out of all kid-safe websites for research that made this list, Britannica Escolar is by far my favorite! My favorite feature is the fact that Britannica has a Spanish version with a robust library. My students have always been able to find information on their research topic on the Britannica website. 

This is a paid website, so if you would like to try it out (and I really think you should), contact your school librarian to learn if you have access to this amazing resource. 

CommonLit 

If you are familiar with CommonLit, you may be surprised to see it listed here. CommonLit is a free website for teachers with hundreds of reading passages for grades 3-12. The reason why I included it here is that CommonLit offers a variety of informational texts that could be used as a source for research. 

I especially like to use CommonLit if my students are working on a biography. There are tons of articles about famous historic figures available in both English and Spanish. Although the information on CommonLit would not be enough for students to complete their entire research, it is a great place to start. 

The best part about CommonLit is that it is completely free for teachers. Once you have created an account, you can create a class and give students the class code. They will be asked to create their own accounts, and then they will have access to all the articles. 

NewsELA 

NewsELA is a partially-free website very similar to CommonLit. Many of the articles there include a version in Spanish that can be accessed by simply tapping the Spanish option on the upper right-hand side of the screen. 

Most of the articles on NewsELA are about current events, so if students choose to use them as a source for their research, they may have to dig around to find the information they are looking for. Regardless, it is a great place for students to look up some information and learn about their research topic. 

NewsELA is completely ad-free! 

Get Epic

If Britannica Escolar is my number one kid-friendly website for research, Get Epic is a close second. With thousands of books to choose from, students can often find an informational book that covers the topic of their research. 

Get Epic has a growing library of books in Spanish. Unfortunately, it is not as robust as their library in English, but it has grown since I first started using Epic in my classroom back in 2017. 

Epic is completely free for teachers with no ads or outbound links. 

Best kid-friendly search engines 

Consider this a little bonus section, if you will. I try my best to avoid using search engines in my class because it requires my students to click on links to websites I haven’t vetted. However, when all else fails, I do allow them to use kid-friendly search engines to complete their research. Here are my three favorite search engines for kids: 

Kiddle.co

Kiddle is a kid-friendly Google visual search. I have used it multiple times in my classroom without a problem. If you have students who are visual learners, this may be a great alternative. 

Kiddle also has its own “encyclopedia” called Kpedia. Kpedia is very similar to Wikipedia, with content rewritten to be appropriate for children. As a general rule, I don’t allow my students to use Kpedia unless they can find another source that supports the claims, just like I wouldn’t allow my students to use Wikipedia. 

Kidtopia 

Kidtopia is a website designed by librarians to support students and teachers. It is a Google-powered search engine with filters that protect students from inappropriate information. It also includes outbound links that will take students to vetted websites, such as the Library of Congress and Smithsonian’s History Explorer. 

Although I love that this website is designed by school librarians and links directly to some amazing websites, I do find it a bit “clunky.” Personally, I don’t enjoy the user experience, which is why I don’t use it very often. However, it is a great alternative if you have a student who couldn’t find anything on the websites I shared earlier. 

Kidrex 

Kidrex is another Google-powered search engine specially designed for kids. It is provided free of charge by Alarms.org, which is the official site of the National Council for Home Safety and Security. This means that there are links on the homepage that lead to Alarms.org, but no other links or ads are included on their homepage. 

Final tip for researching in Spanish

One thing that I have done in the past to help my students find content in Spanish is to teach them how to translate the page. The translation may not always be absolutely perfect, but it is very good. The best part is that it allows my students to view information in Spanish from any website. So, if your students are struggling to find the information they need in Spanish, you can use this “hack.” Here is how it works:

  • Have students find a page in English that has information on the topic they are researching;
  • Have student right-click an area on the webpage where there are no pictures or words;
  • Students will select “translate to español.” If the option to translate to Spanish is not there, just select translate to [language]. A pop-up will appear. Select Spanish.
  • Now, they will be able to view that same information in Spanish.

This simple tip is a game-changer!

Please, make sure you are monitoring students closely when using search engines because they will be clicking on links to visit different websites. Although these search engines have filters to keep students safe, things can always “fall through the cracks.”  

Final thoughts 

There you have it! Eleven best research websites for elementary students in English and Spanish. I hope you found this blog post helpful. If you need more help with teaching your students how to do research, you can check out this other blog post where I share eleven steps to teach research in upper elementary. 

Before you go anywhere, don’t forget to download my FREE guide with nine teaching strategies for dual-language teachers. It’s a must-have! Click here to get your own copy.

Happy teaching! 

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Hi, I'm Rebeca!

I help upper elementary dual language teachers with resources and ideas that promote bilingualism and biliteracy.  

Learn more about me and how I can help you here.

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