Teaching Kids How to Read a Newspaper
- 1). Teach the technical vocabulary of newspapers. Students should be familiar with the words "heading," "subheading," "caption," "illustration," "bold" and "italics." The students should be able to explain what each term means and where it can be found in the newspaper. For example, the "heading" is the title of the article, which can be found at the top of the article in large print, and is often written in "bold" to catch the reader's attention. Practice using the terms by calling out a word and having the students point to it in a newspaper.
- 2). Explain the structure of each article. Students should understand that in a newspaper, the main idea is often the first sentence of the article, which explains the "who, what, when, why and how" of the story. The rest of the article develops the details. Newspaper articles are nonfiction and are therefore not written with developed characters, setting or plot. Ask students to underline the first sentence of many articles and then highlight the "who, what, when, where and how."
- 3). Discuss the relevance of a news story. Students should understand that for an article to be "news," it must be timely, relevant and nonjudgmental. Teach words such as "fair," "accurate," "authentic" and "accessible." To illustrate this concept, ask students to read two or three news stories from various papers. Ask them to rate the fairness, accuracy -- how do we know it's true? -- and accessibility -- is it easy to understand? -- on a 1-to-5 scale. Students can discuss their findings in small groups.
- 4). Create a class newspaper. Using topics that are familiar to the students, practice these new skills by developing news stories that can be written and transformed into a small newspaper. Ask students to write a story that includes a heading, subheading, image and caption. The heading should be written in bold print and the subheading in italics. The story should be factual and nonfiction, written in the same style as stories in the newspapers they have examined.