During elementary school, Sunday nights usually entailed mad scrambles to not only get ready for school on Monday; but to find that dreaded newspaper article for my Social Studies class. First, there was the challenge of wrestling the newspaper from my father; then there was the task of finding an article long enough to meet my teacher's unwritten rule on length, balanced with my own desire to find something interesting with names and places familiar to me. I soon became an expert in the art of article finding, learning the best articles to meet my needs and the requirements of my teacher were located, just below the fold on the right-hand side of the paper. This assignment not only told me terms like "below the fold" but to determine the pulse of the community by where in the newspaper a certain story appeared; looking back it connected to the world outside of my neighborhood. As a mother, I am beginning to bring this assignment into my home with my youngest daughter.
It has been years since I have actually purchased a newspaper and those currently floating around my house have historical value, the election of the first African American President and 9/11. A simple Google search remedied that situation, resulting in a weekend subscription to a national newspaper.
The assignment itself is simple, each Sunday afternoon explore the newspaper, paying special attention to the events and people in your community. The Sunday edition of any paper often has a full range of articles and diverse subjects. If you have a young child, I suggest starting with local issues or in the arts and entertainment sections. If you have a young child, I would recommend you review the newspaper beforehand, to avoid stories and pictures that are not age appropriate for your child. Have them read the article aloud to you and begin building a list of vocabulary of words they do not understand or have difficulty pronouncing. Encourage your child to explain to you in their own words what they think of the story and what it means to them.
Have your child cut out the article, mount it on a piece of paper and have them write a brief summary; this simple step assists in building handwriting, grammar and punctuation skills. This is perfect way to spend some quality time with your child and help them build valuable cognitive and writing skills that will last a lifetime; as well as connect them to the world around them.