Eloquence in English is a desirable trait among students that can be developed by reading the newspaper. A newspaper also helps students stay informed with what is going on around them, nationally as well as internationally.
However, most children avoid reading to read the newspaper as they are unable to comprehend its contents. Added to this is the influx of the, especially social media which makes appealing visual content easily available with the touch of a button. Social media content is usually like junk food; tasty, quick, attractive and totally devoid of anything useful. As newspaper reading is a must for students to master the language.
Here are some activities that teachers and parents can use to help students to understand articles in the newspaper and inspire them to read more.
Activities to Help Students Understand a Newspaper Article
1. Find Tough Words
Teachers or parents can take any article in the newspaper that is of interest to the children. Try topics on technology, sports, comic heroes, or short stories. Then, the students can read the article and make a list of the tough words they don’t understand. Once this is done, the parent/ teacher and student can look the words up in a dictionary. Finally, ask the students to read the article once again replacing the tough words with simple ones to test their understanding.
This activity is great for building the student’s vocabulary. You can make it more interesting by using markers to circle the word in the paper and asking the students to draw the words visually. This activity ensures that the students read the article thoroughly and internalize the content and language.
2. Quiz Whiz
Conduct a short quiz listing some tricky questions based on an article that interests the children. Distribute copies of the article to the class and give them time to read it. When they are finished, take the articles away and start the quiz. Only the students who read the complete article properly will be able to correctly answer the quiz questions.
This activity induces a competitive spirit among students and it gets them excited about reading articles. Students must read the entire article and hence have to grasp its contents. If the article is really interesting, it inspires them to read more.
Newspapers are always full of spicy news and controversy. Pick any one article with a current topic which is suitable for children to debate on. Make it interesting. Ask the students to read the article fully, jot down the points and then to align themselves. Divide the class into 2 groups (‘for’ and ‘against’) and insist on every group member expressing his/her viewpoint for just 1 minute. Declare that points should be original and clearly stated.
This activity requires the complete reading and article comprehension. Students love to debate as this gives them an opportunity to express their views and individuality. It tests their persuasion and ability to convince others, and may result in some students switching sides. Be sure to choose a simple topic that is relevant to their level. Politics probably won’t interest 2nd standard kids!
4. What is the Headline?
This is an interesting activity that is apt for article reading in the newspaper. Select an article and remove its headline. Circulate it among students and ask them to come up with catchy and cogent headlines for the article.
This activity requires a knack for writing and a flair for the language. Children can hone their language skills as they have to read the article completely and coin some crisp headlines. You can also let students vote on the best headline and maybe give a prize to students who guess the headline correctly.
5. Match the Word
“Match the word” is a unique activity. Select a newspaper article and ask students to read it. Then, they are given a list of words for which they have to find the matching or equivalent pairs in the article. To achieve this, the student must read the article completely and search for the synonyms of the given word.
You can also choose a word with multiple meaning and see if the student can find the meaning within the context of the sentence.
Give them options and ask them to select the answer they think is correct. Let the student guess and then look it up in a dictionary or thesaurus to see if they got it right. This ensures that the student understands the meaning of every word or looks for it in the dictionary or thesaurus. This exercise is excellent for vocabulary-building.
Don’t Neglect the News
Newspaper-reading must be made a daily habit for children to develop their language skills and awareness of world affairs. Teachers and parents must work towards encouraging children to read newspaper articles by frequently using interesting activities like the ones previously mentioned. Reading articles must be made a routine habit for children to practise daily.
Sure, comics, cartoons, and computer games are fun. However, knowledge is power and the importance of staying up to date with relevant issues cannot be understated. Reading will never go out of fashion and students must be made to understand the strength of the written word through article reading.
Another way to help children improve their English skills is through practise papers and mock tests. LetsPractise does just that. We are parents and teachers ourselves with plenty of experience in the area. English Grammar for ICSE Board is one of our most popular programmes. Take a look at all our plans and contact us to get started improving your child’s English today.