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Activity with the Newspaper

March 11, 2012

Activity with the Newspaper

The newspaper has always been, and remains, an important resource in our lives. Introducing newspapers in the classroom can help students strengthen their comprehension and research skills. Community news keeps it relevant to the kids, enhancing motivation to discuss and learn more about what they are reading. Newspapers are extremely flexible and adaptable to all curriculum areas and grade levels. They bridge the gap between the classroom and the “real11 world. They contain practical vocabulary and the best models of clear, concise writing. While the delivery format has changed and now includes electronic editions and websites, newspaper content reflects people’s needs and interests.

The newspaper can be a very useful resource to help students develop and apply reading skills because:
• The reader is already familiar with the content as it refers to local people, places and events.
• The newspaper contains linguistic and non-linguistic texts to inform the reader.
• The newspaper includes a variety of genres, discourse structures and visual elements.
• Newspaper activities encourage thinking at many different cognitive levels.
• The socio-cultural context is familiar because it reflects the reader’s daily life and experiences and serves the reader’s needs, making the newspaper a highly motivational text.

At least once every week, take a few minutes to tell students about something you enjoyed reading in the newspaper, such as:
• A comic strip that made you laughs
• A movie review that has convinced you to see a particular film
• A television review that makes you think differently about a particular program.
• A sports story that revisits a game you saw on television or tells you about a game you missed
• Weather information that caught your attention.
• A letter to the editor that made you smile or think differently about the topic
• A map that helped you understand more clearly where a story took place

Expand your vocabulary with this activity

Assign each student a letter of the alphabet. Ask students to browse through the newspaper, find five unfamiliar words beginning with the assigned letter, and look up the definition of each. Then have each student create and illustrate a dictionary page containing the five words and their meanings. Combine the pages into a classroom dictionary. In a variation of this activity, you might ask students to look in the newspaper for any of the following:

• Words with a particular suffix or prefix
• Words containing a particular vowel sound or consonant blend
• Compound words
• Words in the past, present, and future tenses
• Possessives
• Plurals

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