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Teachers say newspapers encourage reading

by Gail Marsh

ASSISTANT CITY EDITOR

Whether it's front-page news, the weather, Dear Abby or the Mini Page, Washington Irving Middle School teacher Christine Terango is pleased to see her students reading the newspaper.

"Having the newspaper in the classroom encourages the students to read and to learn something fresh and new each time," she said.

Her students like it, too.

"I think it's a good idea. Some people don't watch the news because they're too busy or are getting ready for school. This lets us learn about it together as a class," said Brittany Anderson.

"It helps you to keep up on current events. If you want to know something more about what you've heard, this is the way you can," said Joel Rhodes.

"I enjoy it. It gives us a chance to learn together," said Carrie Harpold.

Terango's seventh grade class is one of more than 160 throughout the area who regularly receive a free bundle of Clarksburg Exponent and Telegram newspapers and special education inserts as part of the Newspaper in Education partnership.

Monday begins the week-long national observance of "NIE Week" to highlight the non-profit classroom program. More than 4,000 area students benefit from the partnership between the newspaper industry and businesses and individuals who help underwrite the cost of the supplemental classroom reading material.

Developed primarily as a literacy program, the effort encourages reading by offering a curriculum that uses the daily newspaper.

Barbara Reed, a Robert C. Byrd High School ninth grade teacher, incorporates the newspaper into her reading curriculum.

"We read a lot of the articles and the students can look for their new vocabulary words and find them in context," she said.

Her class did a recent unit using the classified section of the paper. She had the students write a job resume for one of the listed jobs, and she gave them a budget and asked them to find a place to rent that they could afford.

"One of my goals is to get the students to read, and what better way to help them improve their skills than by reading the paper?" Reed said.

At Notre Dame High School, teacher Angelo Basile has used the newspaper in his history classes.

"We focus on the 'Today in History' section to help the students keep abreast of world history events. It helps keeps the American history students tuned into world history," he said.

Senior Samuel Madia said he reads the paper on a daily basis at home, but said he still enjoyed the weekly class assignments that had each student present an article in front of the rest of the class.

"It's a good way to keep up with what is going on in the world. If I didn't read the paper, I wouldn't know what was going on," he said.

Elementary schools students also participate in the NIE program. Once a week, Carole Kinard's fourth grade class at Simpson Elementary School uses the newspapers as part of their class work.

Recently, while studying a unit on compound words, Kinard had the students team up and race to see which team could find the most compound words in the paper.

"We do something a little different every time. This week I'll have the students find 10 compound words, cut them out and then paste them into a sentence they've written," Kinard said.

National research has shown that using the newspaper in the classroom sharpens students' reading and thinking skills, according to Leslie Moore, director of educational services for the Exponent and Telegram.

A Texas study found that students who were exposed regularly to the newspapers in their classrooms fared better on standardized tests that those who were not, she said.

Additional sponsors are invited to make a pledge to support the classroom of their choice by participating in the NIE program. Every dollar donated goes directly to the benefit of the classroom sponsored, Moore said.

For more information on Newspapers in Education, contact Moore at 626-1467.

Assistant City Editor Gail Marsh can be reached at 626-1447 or by e-mail at gmarsh@exponent-telegram.com

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