Most days after school, Glynn Middle School teacher Carla Cate sits at her desk after the final bell and waits for students to drop by to pick up the newspaper.
The seventh-grade teacher has been astounded this semester by the interest her students have taken in the weekly newspaper lessons she’s sprinkled into the reading course.
“Every afternoon kids come back on their way out to pick up a paper,” she said.
Cate signed up this year for the Newspapers in Education program, which provides free copies of The Brunswick News to local schools. She incorporates the program into her class by teaching students how to navigate a newspaper cover-to-cover, by engaging them in discussions about local news and by identifying grammar elements in The News’ articles.
“We use it for reading and social studies,” Cate said. “We also tie in language arts as well.”
The students are so accustomed to technology that they find the newspaper to be a novelty, she said.
“A lot of them don’t know how to read through the paper, because they’re so used to clicking the button,” she said. “And they’ve admitted that to me.”
So Cate shows students how to read a newspaper and how to distinguish between advertisements, articles and editorials.
“We totally break it apart … I show them how when an article’s on the front page, it’s typically the most important news,” she said. “And the bigger the title, the more important it is.”
Several days a week, the class sits on the floor and pulls the newspaper apart to read through the sections.
“I also show them the difference between the local news, the state news and the national news, and they’ve been totally amazed,” she said.
The seventh grade teachers at Glynn Middle work together to incorporate the NIE program into the curriculum.
It’s easy to fit these lessons into the state’s standards for each subject, Cate said.
Newspapers also broaden students’ world views, she added.
“It educates them on other cultures, which some are totally unaware of,” Cate said. “They just assume everyone dresses the same, everyone has the same religion, everyone has the same luxuries we do. They don’t understand there’s way less fortunate people than we are.”
The comments Cate hears from students show that the middle schoolers are interested in what they’re learning from the newspapers.
“I’m amazed at how interested they are,” she said.
And every time she offers for the students to take a copy of the paper home with them, several take her up on the offer.
“They’ll come at the end of the day … those kids don’t forget,” she said. “They come back at the end of the day, and they want the paper.”