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Students read newspapers, establish lifelong habit of staying informed

Opening the newspaper, middle school students in Webster Area Elementary Sped teacher Pam Bauer’s class flip to the section that has the school menu. She said that’s their favorite part to read.

“They really like the menu section, so they’ll know what they will be eating all week,” Bauer said.

Bauer came up with the idea to give students some other exposure to reading through newspapers at the beginning of the school year. She said reading the newspaper offers lessons that prepare students to learn some of the life skills they’ll need beyond their high school careers.

“Reading the newspaper is a life skill,” she said. “The newspaper is something that will always be there, whether in person or online.”

While students still do their textbook reading in class, Bauer said she’s trying to help the students expand their horizons through reading the newspaper at least one day a week.

“They would probably like to do newspaper reading more,” Bauer said. “The textbook reading can be not as interesting as the stuff happening in our daily life, in our community. (Newspapers) help connect each other when reading them. It makes the learning more fun.”

The aspect of fun is especially true for the students when they start seeing other students and people they know making the news.

Students are given freedom to pick which articles and stories they want to read first, Bauer said. Students look over the headlines and content and decide based on what topic catches their attention or looks interesting to them.

Bauer, who has various activities in her back pocket which are designed to utilize the newspaper, makes sure students look over the “help wanted” section and that they read the ads too. Bauer said she wants students to be aware of the kinds of jobs that are available in their community. She feels by doing so, students are being prepared for life after high school.

Other activities include reading the grocery store ad, deciding on a supper menu and then calculating the cost of buying that meal. In the future she wants to try picking out a letter of the alphabet and then having students find all the words in a designated article that begin with that letter.

As students read through the paper, Bauer said they learn the definition of new words and have discussions about any questions a particular article may raise.

Going forward into the school year, Bauer hopes to expand on her newspaper-based lessons through additional activities. She said through the newspaper students learn English, vocabulary, mathematics, government, civics and more.

“We’re building good reading habits that will last a lifetime,” Bauer said. “Newspapers contain practical vocabulary that they’ll use in everyday life. The newspaper makes them aware of what’s happening in the community.”

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