Newspapers are focus of study during March

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 03/18/97.

Students in the Paynesville Area School District have been busy reading the newspapers in school. No, they are not looking at the comics, but the editorial pages, front page, sports, classifieds and more.

As part of Newspapers in Education, the Paynesville Press, as well as 78 other weekly newspapers and 19 daily newspapers have been sent to schools across the state. Teachers have been provided workbooks from which to pull work sheets for the students.

Participating newspapers provided free or reduced priced issues to the schools. The Paynesville Middle School received free papers from the Paynesville Press and Duluth News Tribune.

One goal of the Newspaper in Education program is to show students the diversity of subject matter covered in newspapers. They will find familiar faces and events, from home, the nation and the world. Unlike textbooks, newspapers never get out-of-date and can be marked up, cut, pasted and colored.

Among the middle school lessons are subject areas like: 1) Whatís in a newspaper? 2) Up front, how newspapers use the front pages; 3) Community reflections, how are different points of view represented in the newspaper; 4) A sell job, what do advertisements tell you about the community; 5) Reading between the lines, how do newspapers serve their communities.

One workshop outlined the four basic functions of a newspaper: to inform, to interpret the news, to provide a service to readers and to entertain. The students were given questions to answer. The answers could be found in the newspapers. Another assignment was to count the number of stories on a front page; list all wire services used by the newspaper, how many columns are there in the classified ads, number of comic strips, sports pages, business pages and classified pages, to name a few.

Second graders were given easier tasks. They were asked to find different places in the newspaper, names of people, their age, kinds of cars, five different contractions, compound words, odd numbers, different countries named and three color words.

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