Advisers and Editors Center
Why Elementary Schools Should Start a Newspaper
Traditionally, school newspapers have been something high schools or universities do. However, in recent years, there has been an upswing in junior high schools, middles schools, and even elementary schools starting their own newspapers and newspaper clubs.
This change is a result of several factors, the most obvious one being that newsprint has become more affordable for budget conscious institutions. The other, as far as MakeMyNewspaper is concerned, is the launching of our revolutionary Online Cloud Designer, giving schools, teachers, and students the ability to design right from their school computers (or at home) without having to purchase, download, and install software.
Outside of those reasons, we have discovered the other motives why elementary schools have begun printing their own newspaper.
Kids Love to Be Recognized
In a way, it’s similar to getting mail when you are a child. It is very exciting! It feels grown up, special, and is very memorable. This is what it feels like for a child to see his picture in the newspaper, or to see a poem they wrote published, or see a picture they drew alongside a picture of themselves. Teachers and administrators have found that a newspaper is one of the best ways to engage young minds in school life.
The newspaper affords the room to put many, many pictures within as well as give each child a keepsake. It is hard to do that on a school website or a small newsletter. We’ve found that the elementary school newspaper is less about the articles than it is about publishing something that the kids have done.
When considering what to put into an elementary school newspaper, perhaps the following suggestions will help:
- Publish lots and lots of pictures. However, the more specific the picture (with a caption, article, or mention), the greater the power of the photo.
- Publish any poems, articles or essays that students have written. This is important. Each child who sees something published that they wrote will cherish that particular issue.
- Publish any artwork that students have drawn or painted.
- List (with a picture) any award that is given or earned.
- Publish student quotes. Find out what the students are saying about something and quote them in the newspaper (with a picture preferably). You can use surveys to get some of these quotes.
- Use lots and lots of names of your students. Children will read something just in the hopes of seeing their name.
These are just a few suggestions, but at the elementary school level, the successful newspaper is more about including as many students as you can than anything else.
Parents Want to Brag
This may go without saying, but parents love to see their children in the newspaper. Schools with a newspaper find that parents are more engaged, take more interest, and volunteer more when they believe their children are benefiting from the school experience. Children are not great communicators in this regard, but a school newspaper that highlights a child in one way or another tells the parents that their child is more than just a number, but an individual that has been noticed.
Certainly a newspaper can have information about upcoming events or articles about school policies, field trips, or assignments. Parents, however, are more interested in what their child is getting out of school, how engaged they are, what they do, what they experience, what they accomplish. A school newspaper can help achieve this.
Journalism Is for the Young Too
Even as young as 1st grade, students can begin to develop the skills that may improve their chances at becoming successful in the work force as an adult. Learning to communicate, write, take good photos, reading…all of it has its place. Learning computer skills, following directions, working with deadlines, are all part of what a newspaper club can bring to an elementary school.
A class assignment is just that. It is something they do, turn into a teacher (the teacher and the parents are the only ones who ever really see it), and get a grade for it. A newspaper club is different. What a student does here will be published for all to read, will be more interesting to the students, will still develop crucial skills, and give those involved a sense of accomplishment and pride when they see the finished newspaper.
Newspaper clubs, even at the elementary school level, is a very good thing. We think every school should have a newspaper and a newspaper club.
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