News Articles For Kids – Lesson Ideas

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.

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Here’s an example of an anchor chart about non-fiction texts. This would make for a nice introduction. (Taken from Life in 4B)
(Taken from Lessons With Laughter)
Here’s another great anchor chart, but this one highlights features that are common in non-fiction texts, including newspapers. Go through each features with students, talk about why they are important and how they help the reader.  Then, take to some actual newspapers and have students find these features for themselves.  (Taken from Lessons With Laughter)

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:

(Taken from Pitner's Potpourri)
After reading a news article, have students list the appropriate details in this graphic organizer.  This is meant to reinforce the main component of a news article, which is: who, what, where, when, why and how.  (Taken from Pitner’s Potpourri)
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This is a fun activity! Have students comb through a newspaper and cut and paste words and pictures to make a wacky news story of their own.  This exercise is only meant to get students exploring news features (such as caption, headline, picture, quotes, etc).  This is not meant to reinforce the notion of non-fiction, since their story will obviously be goofy and fake :). (Taken from Education.com)
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Have students use my freebie inverted triangle graphic as a way to understand the structure of a news article.  Unlike a story, that has a dramatic climax in the middle or end, a news article is meant to start off with the most climactic information.  Have students use this as a way to sort details from an article they’ve read.

If you’re looking for appropriate news articles for kids, take a look at these sites: Time For Kids & Teaching Kids News.


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).

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This is a basic, yet very useful graphic organizer to get students thinking about the essential details of their article.  This is a crucial first step to any article writing your students may do.  (Taken from 2nd Grade Stuff)
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Once your students have completed the first graphic organizer, have them move on to this pre-writing plan, which allows them to think in more elaborate details.  What’s great is that this sets up the right flow of the article, starting with the most important details first.  (Taken from Pinkadots Elementary)
(Taken from 2nd Grade Smarty-Arties Taught by The Groovy Grandma)
Finally, when students are ready to write, provide them with some realistic news article paper.  This will help students get excited about writing and displaying their work.  (Taken from 2nd Grade Smarty-Arties Taught by The Groovy Grandma)

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!

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