Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.
Using the Newspaper in Class
As reading teachers, we are responsible for helping our students become comfortable with a wide variety of genres and texts. If you are helping your students grow as nonfiction readers, you probably want them to become well versed in reading the newspaper. Reading a newspaper requires special skills; students need to know how to access prior knowledge, discern the main idea, shift topics quickly, and think critically about what they are reading. Since newspaper reading might be new or challenging to your class, it can help to incorporate games and activities into your instruction. This lesson offers some ideas for making it fun and engaging for your students to read the newspaper.
Playing games can make a big difference in students' motivation levels, especially if you are asking them to try challenging things. This section focuses on games you can use while teaching students how to read the newspaper.
Find it Fast
This game is oriented toward teaching students how to shift their attention quickly while reading a newspaper. Have your students work in small groups. Each group should sit together at a desk or table. Put a few different newspapers at each table. Then, call out a text feature or topic. Some examples include:
- photograph with caption
- headline with a subtitle
- political cartoon
Each group should try to quickly find the feature you have called out. The first group that can find it, present it, and explain what it is doing in the newspaper gets a point for that round, and the team with the most points when you are finished playing wins the game.
True or False
This game asks students to look closely at different newspaper articles. Students should work with partners. Give each partnership a newspaper article to read. Have them read it separately from each other before they come together to play. Once they come together, Partner A is responsible for saying three things about the article. Two things should be true, and one should be false. Partner A can say the three things in any order. Partner B has exactly one minute to determine which thing is the falsehood, based on the reading. Then, Partner B gets a turn. After each partner has had three turns, they can move to a different article.
The activities in this section help students with different learning styles and strengths better understand the newspaper and how it works.
Make a Visual
One thing that students will quickly learn about newspapers is how visuals, like photographs, maps and charts, interact with the text. For this activity, though, you should have your students read a newspaper article that does not have a corresponding visual. After students have read and talked about the article, break them into partnerships. Their job is to come up with a visual that will support the understandings they gleaned from the article. They should plan out their visual, then work together to create it. Bring students together to present their work and compare and contrast different approaches to the assignment.
For this activity, students will have to think critically about what they are reading. Lay out a series of different newspapers around your classrooms. Students should peruse until they settle on an article to read. After they read an article, they should choose one fact, idea or quote that they want to verify. Then, ask them to do research in other newspapers or on-line to try to determine whether what they have read is in fact true. Help students understand when they might question something they read and how they could go about verifying it. Bring students back together to discuss their process and their findings.
Map a Newspaper
Students should work in small groups or partnerships for this activity. Explain that their job is to create a diagram or map of how a newspaper works, for someone who is completely unfamiliar with newspaper reading. Each 'map' should be on a piece of posterboard and should include the major features of a newspaper, such as headlines, bylines, articles, columns, photographs, captions, etc. Students can include tips for how to read and interpret these features, too. If you have a chance, let your students share their work with a younger class of students and answer any questions about how a newspaper works.
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