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Hi everyone. Lately my son is really into reading the newspaper and talking about it. This reminded me that when I was in upper elementary, my teacher would have us all read and summarize one article from the newspaper a week. We were free to pick whatever article we wanted.

 I was TERRIBLE at this, as a kid, because I had zero interest in the newspaper. I think my son might like it, though. I'm thinking of trying it out, anyway, when we start up school in September (he'll be in 4th grade). I figure once a week makes sense. Does anyone do this?

It will be more of an "assignment" than he's had so far, in the sense that he'll have to pick an article, read it, digest it, and write about it, so maybe I'll start out by helping him along and then see how it goes.

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I have never done that with 4th graders, but my 4th graders have definitely created their own newspapers.  THey have pretended to be journalists at historical events and have written "news" articles, created time period ads, "human interest" stories, "weather adviseries," etc.  They have always had a lot of fun with it.

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19 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

I have never done that with 4th graders, but my 4th graders have definitely created their own newspapers.  THey have pretended to be journalists at historical events and have written "news" articles, created time period ads, "human interest" stories, "weather adviseries," etc.  They have always had a lot of fun with it.

That sounds like a great project! 

I've been trying to remember whether I had to do the newspaper thing in 4th or 5th grade. I guess I'll see how it suits him and play around with different ideas, as usual 🙂

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Nothing wrong with letting DS continue to just enjoy reading the newspaper and telling you about an article he enjoyed. Not all personal interests have to be turned into schoolwork, and that can sometimes backfire and shut down an interest by turning it into "school". (Speaking from personal experience there, aarrgghh!) 😉 Just a thought!

Also, for reading a newspaper and studying/analyzing (digesting/writing about) current events -- that is more of middle school/high school level assignment for thinking and writing. 😉 

As a side note:
I remember reading an article years back (possibly by John Holtzmann about how he started Sonlight??), but he assigned reading a newspaper article to his 8th or 9th grade student to do exactly as you're suggesting -- read it, digest it, and write about it. The student was a smart student, but was unable to do, which the parent thought was odd -- until the parent read the article himself, and realized how much *backstory* is required to read and understand current events news articles. You have to know who the political leaders are and what their history is to understand why they are being quoted and what the *context* of their quotation is. You have to understand geography and modern history to get why this country is upset with that country about the trade agreement, etc. Without providing current events context for the student, it's a bit like being asked to walk into a business or engineering meeting that is months into a big project, and being expected to make an intelligent assessment about what's going on and why. Starting to read/digest/discuss current events and newspaper articles from scratch is a bit like jumping into a very deep, fast-flowing river without knowing how to swim -- to start with you need to dabble at the edge, and to progress, you really need to have a swim instructor with experience to teach you how to swim, and to guide you into how to safely navigate the rolling waters.  😉 


All that said (lol) ... For newspaper reading and discussing, you might start with a news source that it is at the student's reading level and that covers topics that the student will understand and be familiar with -- ideas:
Time Kids (secular) -- print news magazine by grade level; comes with a teacher guide; 24 issues
Scholastic News (secular) -- print news magazine by grade level; comes with a teacher guide; 24 issues; 20 issues

Also check out:
"Current events for 4th and 5th grade kids?" -- this past thread is chock-full of links and ideas


And finally, for writing your own newspaper, check out:
Wordsmith Apprentice
It's a great, inexpensive writing program based on the idea that the student is a cub reporter, who gets different assignments writing for different departments at the newspaper. Both of my writing phobic DSs really enjoyed this one.

BEST of luck in your journalistic adventures! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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19 minutes ago, Lori D. said:

Reading a newspaper and studying current events are great goals, but they take a lot of scaffolding. And as for analyzing (digesting/writing about) articles -- that is more of middle school/high school level assignment for thinking and writing. 😉 

As a side note:
I remember reading an article years back (possibly by John Holtzmann about how he started Sonlight??), but he assigned reading a newspaper article to his 8th or 9th grade student to do exactly as you're suggesting -- read it, digest it, and write about it. The student was a smart student, but was unable to do, which the parent thought was odd -- until the parent read the article himself, and realized how much *backstory* is required to read and understand current events news articles. You have to know who the political leaders are and what their history is to understand why they are being quoted and what the *context* of their quotation is. You have to understand geography and modern history to get why this country is upset with that country about the trade agreement, etc. Without providing current events context for the student, it's a bit like being asked to walk into a business or engineering meeting that is months into a big project, and being expected to make an intelligent assessment about what's going on and why. Starting to read/digest/discuss current events and newspaper articles from scratch is a bit like jumping into a very deep, fast-flowing river without knowing how to swim -- to start with you need to dabble at the edge, and to progress, you really need to have a swim instructor with experience to teach you how to swim, and to guide you into how to safely navigate the rolling waters.  😉 


All that said (lol) ... For newspaper reading and discussing, you might start with a news source that it is at the student's reading level and that covers topics that the student will understand and be familiar with -- ideas:
Time Kids (secular) -- print news magazine by grade level; comes with a teacher guide; 24 issues
Scholastic News (secular) -- print news magazine by grade level; comes with a teacher guide; 24 issues; 20 issues

Also check out:
"Current events for 4th and 5th grade kids?" -- this past thread is chock-full of links and ideas


And finally, for writing your own newspaper, check out:
Wordsmith Apprentice
It's a great, inexpensive writing program based on the idea that the student is a cub reporter, who gets different assignments writing for different departments at the newspaper. Both of my writing phobic DSs really enjoyed this one.

BEST of luck in your journalistic adventures! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Thank you for this!

 

Honestly, his reading comprehension is very good. This morning he was telling me about an article he read about the Congressional hearings into whether Facebook, Apple and Google are dominating the tech industry. He loves history and he has a decent background on politics. 

Now, of course it's one thing to read and discuss casually, and quite another thing to have to write up a summary. He might totally stumble on that part of it. He might feel pressured. Etc etc. -- so many things could go wrong. So I'll introduce the idea gently, play it by ear and back away quickly if it doesn't work. 

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