Middle School Reading: Implementing Newspapers As an Educational Tool

Newspapers bring adults around the world up-to-date information about their community, weather, sports, and news. Did you know this form of mass media can also be used to help seventh and eighth grade students with their reading skills. Read on to learn more.

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Parents can help their seventh and eighth grade student excel in and out of their English classroom by introducing them to newspapers. Newspapers not only offer information on current events, but they can also be used to test your child's knowledge of grammar, vocabulary, and more.

Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How

Have your child read the first couple of paragraphs of a news story. Ask them to write down all of the important facts, such as the who, what, where, when, why and how. This helps parents to see if their children comprehend the basic facts and information that they read.


Parents can monitor a child's understanding of grammatical parts of speech without a grammar textbook. Ask your child to read a paragraph in an article and then list a specific number of nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections. Interjections are likely not to appear in an article, so this serves more of a test of their grammatical knowledge. Challenge your student by encouraging them to list each of these parts of speech that appear in a paragraph. Then, reread the paragraph with your child to see if they missed anything.


Ask your child to select an advertisement from the newspaper. Have them investigate how specific words or phrases influence their feelings about particular product. Then, encourage them to create an advertisement of their own for an item they do not like. Tell them not to show their true feelings and try to make people want to buy this unwanted item. After they are done creating their advertisement, ask them to list the persuasive and propagandistic techniques they employed in their ad.

Facts vs. Opinions

Select an editorial for your middle schooler to read. Have your child divide a piece of paper into two columns, one labeled fact, and the other labeled opinion. With each statement made in the editorial, have your student decide which column it fits under. This will help to reinforce your child's understand of fact versus opinion. Another great exercise that incorporates the newspaper is responding to an editorial. Encourage your child to write letters to the editor or responses to editorials or other articles. Read through the letter to make sure he or she uses proper English and sound arguments. Before your child sends his or her letter, check the opinion section to see what requirements there are when sending letters.

Headines and Synonyms

Ask your middle schooler to rewrite a couple of headlines using the synonyms of the original words. Compare the headlines. Do the original versions or the rewrites sound better? This is a great exercise to help students in grades seven and eight learn synonyms and expand their vocabulary.

If you find your seventh or eighth grade child is struggling with these newspaper activities, it may be an indicator that they have fallen behind in their reading skills. These activities were designed with a seventh or eighth grader in mind; therefore, while they are educational, they should be more of reinforcement instead of a major reading challenge.

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