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An ideal educational tool

Many of today’s classrooms are filled with all types of emerging technologies, which educators use to enhance their students’ educational experiences. However, area newspapers have long been a staple in the classroom and at home and remain one of the best tools for learning. Newspapers can be used to further children’s academic abilities in a variety of ways.

Fluency, comprehension and inference of text are lessons that begin as soon as a child begins learning how to read. Children need access to a variety of reading materials so they can expand their knowledge and vocabulary base, and it’s never too early to introduce youngsters to the newspaper as not only a source of local information but also as a reading tool.

Parents can go through the newspaper with their children and select articles that may be of interest. The A to Z page is designed specifically with younger children in mind. Here you will find age appropriate puzzles, games and articles to peak a youngsters’ interest.

A section devoted to local events or a particular theme, such as sports or fitness, may be good starting points for older children.

Children can have fun matching headlines with photos and following the sequence of the stories that continue on another page. They’re also bound to be exposed to a number of new words and phrases as they read newspaper articles, which helps improve their vocabulary.

Newspaper articles are written differently than books. Exposing children to a journalistic style of writing can help them with their own writing assignments. Teachers often stress that narratives and other writing assignments should follow a certain format so students learn to express themselves clearly. Students are urged to validate statements with proof and to have a logical flow to their work.

By reading articles in newspapers, students can gain an understanding of how to introduce a subject, expand on facts and summarize a point. Students who tend to be more pragmatic writers may connect with the journalistic style of writing more so than students who excel at creative prose.

Children can practice reporting on different events in and around their communities, emulating the style of writing presented in newspapers.

Local newspapers are an inexpensive connection to culture and information from the area. Through newspaper articles, students can better understand political, financial and entertainment issues. Staying abreast of the latest news can help students become more well-rounded and learned. Students who may have read about events in a history book can compare those accounts to current information on what is happening in the area today.

Students may be inundated with technological resources both at school and home. But perhaps no classroom resource can match the array of benefits provided by local newspapers.

Betty Ramsey is the publisher of The Farmville Herald. She can be reached at Betty.Ramsey@FarmvilleHerald.com.