Newspapers as a learning tool
         Many households have on hand a tool that can be an enjoyable resource
for your child: the newspaper.

         The newspaper is a fine example of teaching children to read for a
purpose. Once children understand what can be found in the newspaper, they
can look through it to find information that is useful to them.

         Make a treasure hunt out of it. See if your child can find various items that
are common to the newspaper. First of all there is always a variety of news
stories. Can you find one about a person who helped somebody else? How
about a story about your own city? Is there a story about an animal? Can you
find any of these: a cartoon or comic strip, a letter to the editor, a photo with lots
of action, a photo with athletes, a headline that makes the story sound
interesting? What about stories from other parts of the country or from other

         If the information you find in a newspaper piques your childís interest in
some way, use this as a jumping-off point for a trip to the library or a supervised
search on the Internet, where there will be ways to find out more information on
the same subject.
         Names of other countries or cities that show up in the newspaper can be
a way to get out a map and show your child where these places are.

         There is frequently news that is controversial in some way. This can be an
opportunity to explain your values and perspective to your child. Children need
to know where their families stand on such issues. It is a way that they begin to
form opinions of their own. By all means, use the conversation to have him
explain his opinion to you. Being able to express himself is a fine way to clarify his
feelings for himself.

         If your child feels strongly enough about an issue, it would be a great
opportunity to express himself by writing a letter to the editor.

         This column has been incorporated into Teach Your Children Well: A Teacherís Advice for Parents.

All columns are copyright © Jay Davidson. Permission is hereby granted for individuals to download and copy them for individual use. There is a modest charge for printing these columns in any publication. To receive that permission, contact Jay Davidson