Using a Newspaper in the Classroom
For teachers and tutors
Every issue of Easy English Times comes with a separate page of reading and writing activities and a crossword puzzle. The activities and words are specific to that issue. You can copy the page for your students.
Here are some suggestions that can be used with any issue of a newspaper in a classroom or in a tutoring setting.
1. Have students look at the pictures and graphics.
• Tell them to point to specific items.
• Ask questions with "or". (e.g. "Are the people sitting or standing?")
• Ask "wh" questions. (e.g. "What are they doing?")
2. Dictate or write some of the headlines on the board. Tell students to find the pages that the stories for the headlines are on.
3. The teacher reads a story sentence by sentence. For each sentence, ask students to underline key words or phrases. Go back and ask questions for which the underlined words/phrases are the answers.
Intermediate and Advanced Students
1. Ask students to scan the newspaper and tell you which stories they would like to read in class. (This can be done in pairs or small groups as well as individually.)
2. Do activity #3 from above (reading, underlining and questioning). Then show students how to form questions from the material. Assign them a story to make questions from them as a homework or in-class assignment.
3. Small group activity: writing and answering questions
• Divide class into small groups and ask each group to choose a different story.
• Give each person in each group a small piece of paper on which to write a question. (Each group should have a different color.)
• Students write their questions and trade them with another group's questions. They read the story, write the answers to the questions and hand them back.
4. Small group activity: summarizing
• Select several stories that you want the students to read and summarize. Divide the class into groups. Each person reads a different story and then tells the others in the group what the story was about.
5. Create a headline
• Cut out stories without their headlines. Ask students to read the stories and write headlines for them. Compare their headlines with the ones that are in the newspaper.
6. Write the caption
• Cut out some of the pictures from the newspaper without any captions.
• Give students the pictures. Ask them to write their own caption for each picture. Compare with the actual captions.
7. Interview activity
• Students write these two questions and answer them for themselves (after reading the newspaper). "What story did you like?" "Why did you like it?"
• Students ask their classmates the same questions and write their answers. (e.g.: "Rosa liked the story about sports. She liked it because she likes to play soccer."
8. Modified jigsaw reading for newspaper stories
Choose a story that can be divided into three or four parts. Or choose three or four different stories. If the students are low level, read the story(ies) to them aloud before starting the activity. Review/discuss key vocabulary words.
Step 1 - Form "home" groups of three or four and number off.
Step 2 - Hand out the questions. Each person in the group gets a different set of questions.
Step 3 - In "expert" groups, students look up the answers to their set of questions, underline the answers in the newspaper or write them. Then they practice giving the answers to each other. Students are not supposed to read the answers when they are teaching their "home" group.
Step 4 - "Experts" return to "home" groups and teach the answers to the questions which they were assigned. Everyone in the group has been given a copy of all of the questions. All members of the group underline the answers in their newspapers.
Step 5 - Teacher creates and asks a new set of comprehension questions about the material.
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