It’s important to raise kids with a sense of global citizenship and community awareness, and what better way is there to do this then to introduce children to the world of news? When teaching kids about news articles it’s helpful to dissect the genre itself: define it’s characteristics, read plenty of examples and look for stylistic elements. Once that’s done, you may have just prepared your students to be critical readers of the news, and perhaps even effective news article writers! Below is a list of steps I recommend if you plan on teaching writing news articles for kids. Take a look:
Discuss Non-Fiction Features
It’s essential that students understand that news articles fall within “non-fiction” texts. They should know that this means the news is meant to: inform, be factual and provide useful details. This is also a great time to talk with kids about how there are different forms of news articles such as weather, sports, investigative and more. This is best done by examining a newspaper together.
Study News Articles and Features
Put all your useful discussions about news articles to good use by examining many different articles as a class. The more exposure students have to various articles, the better of an understanding they will have when constructing meaning based on them. As important as it is to study news articles, it’s also important to give students varied practice and areas of focus in order to maximize their overall benefit. Here are some ideas:
Practice Writing with Graphic Organizers
Once students have really gotten a hang of reading news articles with understanding, it’s time to transition to writing a news article. Review all of the lessons used to get to this point: non-fiction elements, news article text features and the structure of a news article. Then, have students find an event they would like to write about. To make it easier for students, give them a broad range of topics such as past or present events, private or public events (for example: a birthday party, or a community carnival they attended), or have writing prompts available for students who are having difficulty thinking of an idea (for example, give students the prompt of writing about a recent school assembly or field trip).
How awesome would it be to use your class’s news articles to create a class newspaper for all the kids in the class to see. It would take some crafting, but it would it be worth it!