* NIE Suggestion Box

Suggestions for NIE Coordinators & Students

Elementary & secondary students

  • Ask your child to cut out letters from newspaper headlines, and use these to make words they know. The child can paste the words on a piece of paper and read them aloud to you. This activity could also be used with their spelling words for the week.
  • Ask your child to cut out letters from newspaper headlines and use these to make up a sentence about themselves. (Sample: I like to play ball.) The words for the sentence can be pasted on a sheet of paper, and the child can draw a picture to illustrate the sentence.
  • Fold a newspaper page into quarters. Using one quarter, ask your child to circle all of the words they can read. Ask them to read to you all of the words circled.
  • Ask your child to find contractions on the comic page of the newspaper.
  • Have them write the contractions and the words they stand for on a piece of paper. Example: "can't" for cannot. Extension: Older children could then write sentences of their own using the contractions they found.
  • Have an alphabet race with the newspaper. Ask your child to circle a word starting with A, then B, then C and so on, staying in alphabetical order. Race all the way to Z.
  • Select a feature story from the newspaper and then compare and contrast it with the style of a short style. (Secondary)
  • Do timed reading using newspaper articles.
  • Read the editorials in each weekâ¤s newspaper and keep themwriter logically constructed the piece, or if it tends to be emotionally constructed. Classify the editorials as being explanatory, praiseworthy, critical, entertaining, persuasive or a combination. (Secondary)
  • Find a news story in the newspaper, and then read it carefully, identifying the sentence types in it. Choose your answers from simple, compound, complex and compound/complex. (Secondary)
  • Set up a classroom debate team and discuss the pro and con side of the issue presented in an editorial.
  • News stories or editorials can be written in shorter form.
  • After reading a news article, draw a picture about what happened. Cut out the article and bring it to class along with the picture.
  • Start a word bank. Read the newspaper every night for a week. Look for new and unfamiliar words. Write them down and find the definition.
  • Read a story about someone if the news you would like to know more about.
  • Pretend you are going to interview that person and write questions you would ask.
  • This activity can be used to demonstrate the different types of writing that is don: expository (informational), narrative, descriptive and accusative (persuade). The students, when placing the article/item in the correct category, will be identifying one of the four types of writing. Remember, an article may fit more than one type of article.
  • Cut apart the words of several headlines, at least five words per student. Put the words in a box. Pick any five words at random. See if you can turn these words into a new headline.
  • Find a short story in the newspaper. Be sure that each student has a copy of the newspaper and reads along while you read the story aloud. Then ask each student to find the answers to these questions. Who is the story about? Underline the answer. What happened in the story? Circle the answer. When did the story take place? Put a checkmark by the answer. Where did the story take place? Draw a line through the answer.
  • Using the students' vocabulary list. Create a scavenger hunt. Use terms, words, symbols, parts of speech, etc.
  • Using the comics from the newspaper, cut apart the panels of a comic strip. Paste each panel on a piece of paper and umber each panel in the correct order. At home or at school, mix them up and challenge someone to it them back in the right order.
  • Using the sports section of the newspaper, underline all the verbs in a sports story. Write down the verbs and synonyms that could be used to replace each of the words. Bring your work to class.
  • Read an article in the newspaper about something that happened in your community. How do you feel about it? Happy, angry, worried? Write your feelings down as a letter to the editor. Remember to back your opinion with facts.
  • Find a pet for sale advertisement in the classified section of the newspaper. Write a story about what would happen if you brought the pet home.
  • Choose, cut out, and paste on a piece of paper four newspaper pictures you find interesting. Write a story telling what is happening in it. Can you guess what happened before and after the picture was taken?
  • Write a story about an historical event as it would appear in the newspaper. Remember that news stories are not written in chronological orderThe events are listed in order of importance.
  • Newspaper "MAD LIBS": Clip an article from the newspaper and black out key nouns, verbs and adjectives. Ask a friend for new nouns, verbs, etc. and insert them in the article where appropriate. Reread your silly news story.
  • Make three columns on a piece of construction paper and label them as prefixes, suffixes and root words. Cut words out of the newspaper, and then cut them apart and paste them in their correct columns.
  • Divide all the headline words on the first page of your newspaper into syllables.
  • Take a picture from the newspaper and remove the explanation beneath it.
  • Write a creative story telling what you think could be going on in the picture.
  • Make a poem, using only words you have found and cut out of the newspaper headlines. Glue them onto a piece of paper and illustrate your poem.
  • Imagine that you are the main character n a news story. After reading the published account, tell your side of the story.
  • Select a sports story that is of interest to you and rewrite active voice sentences into passive voice, and passive voice sentences into active voice.
  • Read an editorial and then try to write a one sentence summary of the author's view and feelings.
  • Is freedom of the press important? After reading your newspaper for several weeks write a report on whether or not you feel freedom of the press is a vital need in our society.
  • Divide students into groups and ask each group to write a quiz based on articles found on the front page of the newspaper. Let each group test the class. Students may refer to the newspaper to complete the quiz.
  • Write a five-minute newscast based on today's newspaper. Include major news, local news, weather, and sports in the newscast.
  • Create a bulletin board with the following topics: Sports news, science news, political news, social news, etc. Ask students to bring articles for each category.
  • Choose a comic strip. Rewrite the conversation between each of the characters.
  • Ask students to take turns reading aloud the direct quotes of various persons written about in a news article.
  • Select students to read news articles aloud with the theatrics appropriate to the tone of the article: sad, glad, triumphant, etc.


Questions for reading and comprehension

Literary Response Questions:

1. Who are the main characters? Who are the minor characters?
2. Where does the main story take place?
3. Tell the main things that have happened so far.
4. What do you think the author's message will be? Why do you think that?
5. Have you noticed anything you think the author might bring up again later in the story? If so, what did you notice?
6. Do you like or dislike the characters? Why?
7. Describe the setting.
8. What is the problem in the story? How do you think it will be solved?
9. What is the author trying to tell you? How do you know?
10. Tell about the images the author has left in your mind.
11. Does a character in this story remind you of anyone else you have read about? If so, how are they alike?
12. Have you ever been to a setting like the one in your story? If you have, how was it like the setting in the story?
13. What do you think will happen next? What do you think will happen at the end?
14. How do you feel at this point in the story? Why?
15. What special words has the author used to help you see, hear or feel things in the story?
16. Choose one character. Why was the character important in the story?
17. When does the story take place: long ago, in the future, or in the present? How do you know?
18. Tell the main events that have happened in the story.
19. What do you remember most about the story?
20. How did the setting affect what happened in the story?
21. What did the author have to know in order to write this story?
22. What was your favorite word, line or paragraph in the story? Why was it your favorite?
23. If you could be any character in this story, who would you be? Why?
24. How would the story be different if it had been set in a different time?
25. If you wanted to suggest this story to a friend, what would you say it was mostly about?
26. Suppose you had a chance to meet one of the characters. What would you say to him or her?
27. If you could visit the place in this story, would you go? Why or why not?

-- Michele Terry, Times-News, Burlington, NC


More NIE activies:

  • Assign a part of speech (noun, verb, adjective, adverb, etc..) and ask students to find the appropriate words whose beginning sounds represent all the letters of the alphabet in the newspaper. Students can work in groups or independently.
  • Examples:
    Nouns apple, bridge, curtain.......
    Verbs ate, broken, caught......
    * Each morning, I cut out new articles from each section. I have started a News Wall outside my classroom. As I am centrally located (across from the cafeteria), all the children in school pass my classroom. The days' news is up before 7:15 each morning. The children have been drawn to this "Wall" and discuss articles they view. It has stimulated so much interest in the days' news that I now share my subscription with 3 other classes, so they can expand upon what they see in their classrooms. Also on the wall is a temperature graph. We plot the temperatures and discuss trends.

    -- Anna Flannino

  • Over the years of teaching Middle Grades, I've found that one of the hardest things to do is motivate a "non-reader" to read - and if you can make the reading part of a puzzle or game, it's no longer "reading" to them.
  • Sports is the way I try to make sure some of my boys get caught up immediately in the paper each week. The activity will vary depending on the edition and what's in it. I spend my Monday mornings pouring over the paper looking for numbers in articles and plotting my strategy. Some of the ideas are hunt and peck, some are interpretation and some are geography. But most of them are hidden agenda to the children.
  • If I wanted to tape the following programs: "ABC World News Tonight", "Figure Skating from Greenville, SC", "Great Structures of the World", "7th Heaven", "City of Angels", How many minutes of tape would I need?_________ How may VCR's would I need?_______
    In Sunday's college football scores, which team won the largest percentage and what was that percentage?_______________
  • I need to know the exact position of Mississippi State compared to University of Arkansas in the AP Poll and the Coaches' Poll. Please let me know who is the SEC's top team: (adapted)
    Mississippi State University of Arkansas
    AP Poll .......... ..........
    Coaches' .......... ..........
  • Allow students 15 to 20 minutes to browse through the paper and choose an article of interest. They are to jot down brief notes relating to the article. These notes should answer the questions WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCE, etc. Each student will then be given a time limit (5 minutes is about right) to present his/her article to the class, I have the student stand in front of the room; this affords him public speaking practice as well. The speaker must leave all notes at his desk and must know this in advance. I let the listeners ask questions of the speaker after his presentation. This exercise not only covers reading, speech, and information organization, but also provides for an analysis of the article by students. Many adaptation to this lesson can be made. my students seemed to enjoy the break from book and written work and welcomed the chance to share their interests with the class and me. Sometimes I grade the presentations and sometimes I don't.
  • Direct students to write a Letter to the Editor expressing an opinion about a subject that interests them as Arkansas teenagers. They should spend some time researching the topic at the library or might read about the topic on a regular basis in the newspaper so that they can form an interest.