The Newspaper as a Learning Resource

The newspaper (both digital and print) is a great resource for learning that we typically don’t associate with education.  However, reading the newspaper with your child can be very enlightening.  Children not only learn about current happenings in the world, but can also learn about geography, social issues, history, sports, politics, money, technology, and business.  This activity also encourages reading and learning new vocabulary.  Together you can read the article, ask questions, and elicit further exploration beyond the article.  Many newspapers also provide online companion resources for extensions based on articles that have been published in their newspaper.


USA Today – Education

USA Today offers a complete site for educational activities called the Lesson Library based on reading articles that were previously published in their newspaper and then completing a related activity.  While the activities are traditionally setup for the classroom setting, they can be easily adapted for home school or to be used as a home learning activity.  An example activity has students read a visual graph about students taking online course.  The child then has to create a graph based on the data, identify the dependent and independent variables, describe the rate of change, and make a prediction.  This activity stresses interpretation of a graph which is a skill many children have difficulty with mastering.  Spending extra time at home on this skill can help increase the achievement level of the child.  Extension activities include calculating percentages and comparing this data against other articles on online education and higher education.  Articles on topics including all major subject areas and topics are included in this Lesson Library.

Teaching & Learning with the New York Times

The New York Times has a Learning Network online blog.  This blog has activities based on current articles that are posted several times a day during the week days.  Each day has a particular focus for example Monday is an interdisciplinary lesson, Tuesday is social studies, Wednesday is Health, Thursday is Language Arts, and Friday includes posts from the readers.  Activities include reading an article, answering review questions, reading poetry and posting reactions and comments to their site, reading up on the word of the day, taking online quizzes after reading an article, and answering opinion-based questions about popular teen-related topics.  This is definitely a popular high-interest resource that can be used at home to extend learning.

Newspapers in Education

Newspapers in Education provides resources and learning activities that can be combined with using your local newspaper.  Resources include top articles for the day in geography, politics, history, word of the day, political cartoons, and educational links.  Activities include lesson plans that are typically used in the classroom, but can be adapted for home use, that include the child using the newspaper (digital or print) to research about a topic.  Recent activities include looking for articles about people who deserve recognition (in honor of Veterans Day), researching about recycling in your community, and to find an article about people who have had extraordinary experiences (based on the article of the whales jumping out of the water by a surfer in Monterey Bay).  These activities are great for parents to use as starters for getting their kids involved in reading the newspaper at home.

Sit down with your child tonight with the newspaper and build a love of learning and reading in your home.

Article By Laura Ketcham-VanHellemont

Picture By NS Newsflash

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