Writing Newspaper Articles in Your Homeschool
“What was your favorite homeschool co-op class this past year?” I asked Martha.
“I loved the newspaper class!” she gushed. “I loved seeing my articles in the newspapers we made!”
As we chatted, I found my mind wandering back to the reasons we had a newspaper writing class to being with. You see, there were several kids middle-school-age students who were really struggling to focus in their writing. I came up with writing newspaper articles as a way to help them learn to write clearly.
When a reporter writes an article, he is retelling an event. It is like telling a story, except it is true, so our reporter has to get his facts right.
Why is writing newspaper articles such a great way to teach writing?
Well, to start with every newspaper article begins with a lead. A lead tells the reader, Who, What, When, and Where. That is a lot of information packed into one sentence. It means they have to narrow down all the pertinent information to one sentence.
Just that exercise alone helps students to bring focus to their writing and think about who they want to talk about in their article, what they were doing, where they were doing it, and when it happened.
Try it right now. Think of an incident from yesterday and make up your own lead in your head.
My neighbor Carleen showed up unexpectedly at our church service last night at 7 p.m.
After the first sentence, the second sentence goes into the why of the incident you are reporting on.
Now comes the investigating.
Did my neighbor walk or drive?
Did she come because she was lonely? Or needed prayer? Or lost her dog and wanted us to help her find him when we got home?
Our student reporter must now narrow down the why and how to one clear sentence.
You see, in a newspaper article, the reader should be able to know all the pertinent information of the event in the first paragraph. It should drive the reader on to know the details.
I was excited to see how Martha’s writing had improved, and she became a better communicator as she learned to figure out what was most important for the reader to know and communicate it clearly.
You can add writing newspaper articles to history, or science, or Bible classes quite easily.
“Pretend you are a newspaper reporter, Alexa. Write an article on Jonah’s experience with the Assyrians of Ninevah. Now, Alexa has to take a detailed story of running from God, being swallowed by a fish, preaching, and seeing the people respond. What will Alexa’s lead be? Ah, now you see how challenging writing a lead is.
Though we are living in a time where the morning newspaper is disappearing across America, don’t forget about the skill of writing a newspaper article with a good lead. It’s a great skill for aspiring writers to learn.
Resources for Writing:
Until next time, Happy Homeschooling,
Meredith Curtis, homeschooling mom, writer, speaker, and publisher, loves to encourage families in their homeschooling adventure. She is the author of Americana Newspaper Reporting, Travel God’s World Geography, and HIS Story of the 20th Century. You can check out her books, curricula, unit studies, and Bible studies at PowerlineProd.com. Free Reading Lists for all ages are available at JSHomeschooling.com. Read her blogs at MeredithCurtis.com (http://www.meredithcurtis.com/blog) and PowerlineProd.com and listen to her at Finish Well Radio.