Classrooms have come a long way since the days when pioneering settlers would send their children to single-room schoolhouses. Modern classrooms might be technical marvels, but one less flashy learning tool remains as valuable as ever. Newspapers might not be as glamorous as tablets or other gadgets, but they are still an invaluable resource to educators and students. The following are seven ways in which newspapers in the classroom can benefit students.
1. Newspapers build vocabulary. Numerous studies have found that reading can improve youngsters’ vocabulary. Each day, newspapers are filled with fresh stories that can introduce kids to new words, helping them to strengthen their vocabularies and make them more effective communicators.
2. Newspapers improve reading skills. Like the old adage says, “Practice makes perfect.” Reading newspapers each day can help kids develop their reading and comprehension skills.
3. Newspapers promote critical thinking. Newspaper reporters are trained to report the news objectively, sharing facts without allowing their own opinions to influence their stories. Educators can choose stories from the newspaper to serve as catalysts for discussions that focus not just on the facts listed in the story, but what might be behind them. Such discussions can help youngsters develop their critical thinking skills.
4. Newspapers bring ideas and current events to life. Many children are aware of major world events, even if they don’t know or understand the details. Newspaper articles about world events can be used as avenues to discussions about what’s going on in the world.
5. Newspapers build global awareness. Customized newsfeeds funneled through social media outlets can make it hard for young people to recognize and understand the world beyond their own communities and interests. Each day, newspapers include local, national and international stories that can illustrate to kids that there’s a world beyond their own.
6. Newspapers promote social consciousness. Without newspapers, young people may never be exposed to the social issues facing their own communities or those issues that affect people across the country and the world. Newspapers provide unbiased exposure to such issues, potentially leading youngsters to further explore topics that shape their world and even encouraging them to form their own opinions.
7. Newspapers make learning fun. According to a 2017 report from Common Sense Media, kids younger than 8 spend an average of two hours and 19 minutes per day looking at screens. Newspapers provide a welcome break from tablets, smartphones and computers, and kids may have fun flipping pages and getting a little ink on their hands.Newspapers remain invaluable resources that can benefit students in myriad ways.