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As editor, you would expect me to promote the value of newspapers. But consider this perspective from childhood.
While a third grader at Vine Grove Elementary School, part of most Wednesdays involved exploring the previous Monday’s editions of The Courier-Journal and the Chicago Tribune. More than four decades later, I don’t remember many specific stories or headlines but I do remember some of the principles and lessons taught through the living textbook of a newspaper page.
The current events of the 1960s offered a means for our teacher to make our history book seem more relevant. A study of the federal separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches took hold for me through Page 1 articles based on news of the day.
I can recall discussions of the shapes of photographs being related to geometry and fractions demonstrated through the number of panels in comic strips. Before I began double checking the winning percentages in NFL standings, I didn’t see the purpose of long division beyond pleasing the teacher.
The Chicago paper displayed an American flag as part of its nameplate. I remember wondering if that somehow defined their coverage or indicated the writers were patriotic. In today’s classroom, I think that would be considered development of critical thinking and reasoning skills.
At 8, I didn’t have a way to describe the importance of having newspapers in the classroom. But now I would call it relevance.
Learning seems more important when its value is obvious and applicable.
That’s still true. It’s also why The News-Enterprise and newspapers across the country are involved in Newspaper in Education programs, commonly referred to as NIE.
Dozens of classrooms across the region regularly receive copies of our paper thanks to our circulation team and several benevolent sponsors. Teachers today continue to recognize NIE’s value and we’re thankful for that. In addition to developing our next generation of readers, we’re able to build a lifelong appreciation for the value of knowledge and information.
The first full week of March is recognized nationally as Newspaper in Education Week. This year, the Newspaper Association of America Foundation’s teaching tools connect today’s paper with math, civics and fine arts curriculum.
Martha Sepulveda coordinates the NIE program in our office. She can hookup participating teachers with these “Power Pack” lesson plans. I’m convinced that the willing minds of young students can be inspired by today’s edition.
Who knows, maybe a future editor will be sitting in a tiny desk in one of our local schools this week gaining an appreciation for long division.
Ben Sheroan is editor of The News-Enterprise. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (270) 505-1764.