The News on Reading and Writing

Because I have so much time on my hands (gulp!) I have signed up to run a weekly lunchtime newspaper club. In the past years, my newspaper project has only run for my students who come to our Learning Centre. Imagine that – the children with learning difficulties producing the school’s first and only newspaper for kids! It was always huge. I am talking major countdowns and launches and a massive fuss over our yearly release. The best part was how the kids who were known to have learning difficulties were the ones standing in front of the whole school with their heads held high!

The newspaper project has been on hold for a year or two as I have had to shift my focus onto some younger grades, but this year I have decided to revive it as a lunchtime club for the three senior primary years and we aim to go to print when we have enough to fill about 8 pages. We start this week and so many people have signed up, I am afraid we won’t have enough space!

So, Why?

  • It is a newspaper written “For kids, by kids!” – My catchphrase. Kids are writing for an audience and loving it. Kids are reading what other kids write and loving it. It promotes a love for reading and writing.
  • It pulls students who do not have learning difficulties into our centre – making it a space that is available to everyone!
  • It exposes kids to different styles of writing.
  • It makes writing meaningful because you are writing for a real audience.
  • It makes reading more meaningful because you know the author and so have immediate connection to the text.
  • I have employed a few senior primary children who are in need of some extra love and attention to be my photographers. I have arranged for them to do a workshop with the High School photography club teacher. I loved the way their eyes lit up when I offered them the job. I loved the way they accepted.
  • I approached some kids who like making their own comics and demanded (hee hee!) they contribute something to my newspaper.
  • Our  Headquarters (yes – I have already made the sign) open up this week. At least seven children have approached me to tell me about their ideas and articles they are already working on – and we haven’t even started yet… kids excited about writing…Yeehaa!
  • We will be publishing articles from younger grades as well, except these will be sent through by teachers as they feel kids have completed work worth publishing.
  • Students don’t need to attend a lunchtime club to have their work published. They are free to publish work at home or in other spare time at school. We will take it all.

What do we put in it?

Anything the kids want to do. In the past we have had the usual jokes page (of course), interviews with teachers and kids, surveys and petitions, environmental issues, ten questions to ten kids, competitions, game and gadget reviews, environemntal issues, school canteen reviews, interesting facts, sports hero pages, news from the real news, children writing about their own interestest and passions, inspirational people, interesting things about our reporters that nobody knew and this year I am going to be asking teachers to write guest articles.  I have a very loved and respected primary teacher writing a piece for me on the things she wishes she knew when she was in primary school. How many times have kids had the opportunity to read a piece of writing by their own teacher?

I can’t wait for our first edition of 2011 to go to print. I hope I have not bitten off more than I can chew here. If you have any more exciting ideas about what to put in, I would love to hear about them. I need some great launch ideas too…I think I have exhausted all of mine.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

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8 Responses to The News on Reading and Writing

  1. JOAN AND GERALD says:

    Loved your latest – most inspiring and innovative. I have a partner who has a kid who’s battling with a learning disorder – wish he could pop in to you – the English may present a bit of a problem!! Love as always GEE

  2. Maria says:

    have you ever thought of selling your school newspaper to the kids?

  3. Camilla says:

    At our school we seem to be moving away from newspapers and into blogging. Have you thought about putting your newspaper on the net so students may read it online?

  4. Moebius says:

    I think you are creating a kind of virtuous cycle. Self-fueling and self-reinforcing. The more goodwill it generates the more engagement, the more engagement, the more constructive output, the more constructive output, the more goodwill. Rinse and repeat.

    This is how you make the kinds of memories that become old peoples’ remember-when’s

    • TeacherMum says:

      Moebius – you put it so eloquently. I think I need to get you to do a guest post on my blog. What you say is true… I am so privileged to be part of the process that creates good “remember-when’s”
      Thank you for your comment.

  5. Linx says:

    Senior son was the talk around our dinner table tonite- to have raised so much money ( esp when we convert dollars to rands) for such an amazing cause! Our 7 year old daughter wants to take photo of him for show and tell – what a proud cousin she is!!!

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