Teaching students to READ

First and foremost, I am just trying to get students to read. I am trying to get them to find out that there are interesting things in a newspaper. Because newspaper articles are often relatively short, I want students to be able to pull out the main idea of a story and elaborate on it so I know that they understand the entire article.

Sometimes I’ll take words from an article that I think will interest the kids, and we’ll use them as vocabulary words. We’ll talk about the article and how the words are used. When we’ve finished, I take the words and put them into a word find. Then I give my students the word find with the meanings of the words below, so that they not only find the word itself, but also can match it with its meaning.

I teach lower-level students, and they need to have the ability to stick with something that is hard for them so that they feel that they are accomplishing something. If it seems like every time they’re attempting something someone is always better than they are, they’re not always going to want to put forth an effort.

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How to use news to teach

If I take into consideration all of the programs that I use, including my basic math and reading programs, USA TODAY ranks at the top for stimulating student interest.

The paper enables me to provide students with hard examples of how math, reading, science and social studies affect our daily lives. The paper provides a colorful, organized, current document that students and teachers can refer to, which brings to life, in a dramatic way, our everyday curriculum.

After letting students first skim USA TODAY, I assign them a number of stories to read from each section, e.g., four stories from NEWS, two from SPORTS, etc. The students are allowed to read any stories that they want, and they must tell me the “Five Ws” of each story: the who?; what?; when?; where?; and why? contained in their stories.

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A lesson on plagiarism

I teach my students about plagiarism and how to cite sources, paraphrase and use quotes. We study how USA TODAY cites sources and keeps from plagiarizing. The students learn from a reliable source.

I also have my students read an editorial in the paper. I then teach persuasive writing and writing for a purpose. We look at how the newspaper’s writers set up arguments and format their thoughts. For instance, the cigarette smoking debate was featured, so we read the writers’ arguments and debated the issue.

Every day, the kids have a quiet time to do their homework or read. Many students ask to read the paper, they find it to be very friendly. They have told me that when they are on vacation, they are drawn to the racks to get the paper because they’re familiar with it. They know the layout.

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Teaching with newspapers

I want to thank you for suggesting the use of newspapers in our classrooms. From the first day of class many of m, students have been carrying and reading the paper, even without my prompting.

On several occasions, I have used the Experience Today lesson plans available on the Internet. Each time I have used the prepared lessons I found them to be clear, concise and easy to use. The discussion questions really help my students see to the heart of the news story and encourages them to form their own opinions and comments.

I especially like the early availability of the Experience Today lesson plans. Being able to pull up the lesson plans the day before the newspaper is printed is a great convenience and a time saver!

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