The Scoop on Current Events!
Structure and Format
After a class discussion or two about what “the news” is and where students’ families get their news, you might want to spend some time looking at print versions of newspapers. Have a discussion about how we go about reading the news. Is it the same way that we read books? How is it different? Several excellent picture books are available to help introduce young children to the basic parts of a newspaper:
In Loreen Leedy’s Reading Rainbow book The Furry News: How to make a Newspaper (ISBN 978-0823407934),the animal characters are intent upon publishing a neighborhood newspaper to share important community news and features. With spare text and colorful illustrations and speech bubbles, students learn the basic departments of the newspaper, the jobs, and some general vocabulary.
Mark Teague’s funny series about Ike LaRue tells the stories of Ike’s misadventures through a series of letters and snippets of news articles. Try Dear Mrs. LaRue (ISBN 978-0439206631) or Detective LaRue (ISBN 978-0439458689).
Colin and Jacqui Hawkins’s book Fairytale News (ISBN 978-1844285310) is a funny accounting of Jack’s (of beanstalk fame) job as a paperboy delivering the news to the likes of the Three Bears, Red Riding Hood, and (of course) the giant. Fairytale News actually comes with a mock-up of Jack’s newspaper which will have students chuckling. The books provide fun visuals that will remind or introduce students to things such as headlines, bylines, mastheads, classifieds, captions, etc. while reading about “events” they are familiar with.
Another resource to teach students the basics of newspaper format is The Newseum: Today’s FrontPages. Thumbnails of the front page of over 800 newspapers are available here and printable as PDFs. Begin looking at several as a whole class, gather student ideas about what they notice. What common features do the papers seem to have? List, and introduce appropriate vocabulary. Print off an assortment of the pages and have students work independently or in small groups to locate those common characteristics.