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Dexter Porterfield, a Jane Macon Middle School teacher, uses The Brunswick News to supplement lessons in his health class.

Bobby Haven/The Brunswick News

Newspapers can be used as supplemental educational tools for pretty much any classroom subject, as many Glynn County teachers can attest.

The Brunswick News’ Newspapers in Education program, which provides free copies of The News to local schools, helps teachers tap into that wide breadth of topics covered in every issue of the newspaper.

“I like to use the newspapers to show the relevancy of health,” said Dexter Porterfield, a teacher at Jane Macon Middle School. “I use it to show them how health is a big and important part of the community.”

Porterfield, who teaches middle school health, asks his students to read The News every Wednesday and pick an article on which to write a short essay.

“They can pick their own topic that they want to pick out of the newspaper, and then they write about how it has to do with health, what it has to do with their health and how it can affect the community,” he said.

This assignment not only exposes the students to quality writing, but also makes them familiar with the structure of a daily newspaper, he said.

“What we’re looking for mainly is writing structure,” he said. “It gets them used to writing and exposes them to the newspaper.”

Daniela Aloazo, a Jane Macon Middle student, said she’s been able to use the newspaper to identify health needs here in her own community.

“I think it’s very important to read the newspaper,” she said. “It’s also very cool to read the newspaper, because some people don’t read newspapers, they just use technology.”

Aloazo’s classmate, Shruti Bhagu, said she enjoys reading local stories.

“I like reading all the news and just learning about stuff,” she said.

And Michael Grant, another student in Porterfield’s health class, said he prefers reading short articles. But for his weekly writing assignments, he opts for the longer feature articles published in The News.

“I like the easy stuff, but I pick the long articles so I can write more,” he said.

Over the next nine weeks, the health class will cover bullying, communication, drugs and alcohol and sex education.

And Porterfield said each Wednesday’s writing assignment, using health articles in the newspaper, will supplement his teaching on those topics.

“It’s vital,” he said. “It gets them exposed to the paper and the information that’s in the paper.”