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Really Simple RSS: Overview

What is RSS?

The abbreviation, RSS, has been used to stand for a variety of things, each with essentially the same functionality:

  • Really Simple Syndication
  • Rich or RDF Site Summary
  • Real-time Simple Syndication (RSS 2.0)

Many websites sites syndicate their content as an RSS Feed.  These feeds are available to anyone who like to read them.

How does RSS work?

RSS headlines are fed as simple text files to the server. This usually includes a date, a headline, and, perhaps, a summary. The server then pushes the text file out to subscribers. Readers use RSS to retrieve the latest content from favorite sites without having to visit or search the sites.  
How do I subscribe? 

Many RSS Feed Readers need only the URL to find the feeds associated with a site.  If this is not an option, most websites that provide feeds will give you a list of those feeds, indicated by the rss feed symbol.  You can often just Google "RSS feed and website name" to find this information.  Also, it's simple to identify the RSS feed for a blog hosted on these common platforms.

  • WordPress - add /feed to the end of the blog url
  • Blogger - add feeds/posts/default to the end of the blog url
  • Medium - add /feed/ between and the blogs name in the url
  • Tumblr - add /rss to the end of the blog url

Here's how to find an RSS Feed for a You Tube Channel?


How do I add an RSS feed to my reader?

Some online RSS reading services have tools to locate rss feeds by a site's URL.  Others may require you to know the feed address, which you can find like this:   

  1. Click on the RSS link or button of a site, blog or feed you'd like to follow. 
  2. Copy the URL (web address) from your browser's address bar.
  3. Add a new channel in your reader.
  4. Paste the URL of the RSS into the appropriate field.

That's it!  You'll now have this content added to your daily headlines to scan and follow.

Will I ever use a RSS feed reader outside of school?

Yes! Professionals use RSS to keep up on current events and developments in their field of work.  You can even make use of it in your personal life, today.

  • Follow the people, ideas, and websites that interest you now. 
  • Unsubscribe from email lists and follow using RSS instead. Less mess if you only want the most current information.
  • Use IFTTT to create customized email or cellphone alerts when a specific website posts an article.

RSS Feeders


This one is recommended for MG users because it allows single sign-on with your MG Google account.  Set up and categorizating your news items is very simple.

Google Play
Apple App Store
Kindle App
feedly Mini extension
*other extensions available

RSS FeedReader

While each of the online readers here have Chrome extensions, this lives mostly on your extension bar,making it the best for scanning the news.

Google Play
Apple App Store
Kindle App
feedly Mini extension
*other extensions available


This is Mrs. Cowell's favorite for her personal reading.  The device app is very elegant and makes it easy to share articles through social media super simple.

Google Play
Apple App Store
Kindle App
feedly Mini extension
*other extensions available

iOS Devices

Android Devices


NOTE: You can locate other feed readers for your device, type "RSS Reader" into your app store search box.

Want to do NEWS ALERTS on your phone?

Nuzzle App (Android and iOS)
Relies on your Facebook and Twitter usage to predict what stories you want to know about, so this app is great at seeing what's trending, at least among the folks you know. 
Flipboard (Android and iOS)
Relies on your subscribing to RSS feeds and customizing topics.  You have the most control here.
AP Mobile (Android and iOS)
The AP Wire is used by many news agencies to collect the day's news (learn more about this at Hot Off the Wire).  It doesn't connect through your social media, so you'll get alot of "straight up" breaking news stories. 

You can also subscribe alerts through text messaging.

Interested in how this new approach is impacting the news cycle?  

"Pushed Beyond Breaking:  US Newsrooms Use Mobile Alerts To Define Their Brand." Columbia Journalism Review. N. p., 2019. Web. 30 Oct. 2019.

"Why Newsrooms Are Using Mobile Push Alerts For Brand, Not Breaking." Columbia Journalism Review. N. p., 2019. Web. 30 Oct. 2019.

 RSS allows students to select publications of interest that get them reading texts more complex than status updates and tweets. Consider the why and how in here.

 News feeds related to your content area can stimulate interest in a upcoming topics of study.  

 Students can follow current news on a research topic using a news feed.

 Students can follow a specific perspective in preparation for a classroom discussion or debate where you are them to take a single perspective. 

 Students can follow a specific topic from various points-of-view so that they are prepared to compare different perspectives during discussion or reflection. 

 When publishing online products, students can include an RSS feed to keep content fresh and relevant, long after a project is completed.

 Students can retweet content they find through news feeds (and comment!). You can use an RSS feed generator to create an RSS feed for the social media posts created by all the members of your class (use a unique hashtag).  

 Create a feed of weekly writing prompts from Writer's Digest or from your own website/blog.  

 Students who follow media critics  (movies, books, etc.) are exposed to the language of productive criticism.

 Students can follow websites that offer featured poetry, short stories, and more.  RSS isn't just for news.

Library Information and Media Center - Monona Grove High School - Monona, Wisconsin

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