National Writing Project

National Newspaper Week and Student Publishing

By: Art Peterson
Date: October 1, 2010

Summary: In celebration of National Newspaper Week, NWP highlights the use of newspapers and other publication sources by NWP teachers, lists articles on using newspapers for teaching, and suggests venues available to young writers and their teachers.


Since 1940, the Newpaper Managers Association has sponsored and supported National Newpaper Week, a celebration of the newspaper industry in the United States.

This year's celebration will be held October 3–9, with a theme that would not have occurred to newspaper workers in earlier times: "Newspapers—the present and online connection for today's communities."

In 1940 "online" would most likely have suggested something to do with hanging out the wash.

These days, however, as the week's theme suggests, newspapers are becoming increasingly aware of the value and necessity of a digital presence, and many are successfully making the adjustment.

NWP teachers have always looked toward newspapers as strong models of prose and as an outlet for their students' writing in the form of essays and letters to the editor.

Here are some pieces from our archives that celebrate the varied uses of newspapers in NWP classrooms and look to other venues where students and their teachers may publish.

Newspapers and Publications in the Classroom

Making a Successful Punctuation Lesson

Mary Tedrow, of the Northern Virginia Writing Project, describes a lesson where she used a Washington Post article to draw students' attention to how the author used punctuation to recreate the spoken word on paper and to enhance his intended meaning. More ›

"Our Wal-Mart Is Bigger Than Our Mall": Writing That Matters

When a newspaper writer identifies the hometown of her students as one of the fifty worst places to live in America, Suzanne Styron Edwards of the West Tennessee Writing Project has her students write letters to him. They respond with passionate and successful writing. More ›

It's a Frame Up: Helping Students Devise Beginnings and Endings

Romana Hillebrand of the Northwest Inland Writing Project describes how a carefully crafted frame, such as those created by columnists William Safire and Ellen Goodman, can give a piece of writing a deeper sense of meaning and a way into and out of the assignment that escapes the overused traditional patterns. More ›

"I'm a Writer Now!" The Who, Where, and When of an ELL Newspaper

Joe Bellino, teacher-consultant with the Maryland Writing Project who teaches English language learners, describes the process of publishing a newspaper written by his students and talks about how this paper has positively affected readers, writers, and the school. More ›

Students Write Tabloid Tabulations in a Math Gossip Magazine

Eighth grade math teacher Tom Murray and teacher-consultant Joe Bellacero, co-director of the New York City Writing Project, recount their innovative collaboration: they have students write gossip tabloid articles about math topics, which increases their understanding of math and develops their writing skills. More ›

Maryland Voices: Publishing Students' True Stories

Teacher-consultant Rus VanWestervelt of the Maryland Writing Project describes how he founded a journal designed and edited by high school students and devoted entirely to publishing creative nonfiction written by teens throughout Maryland. More ›

10 Ways to Promote Writing for an Authentic Audience

Writing Project teacher Anne Rodier is quoted in this New York Times article, arguing that students "have to believe that what they have to say is important enough to bother writing. They have to experience writing for real audiences before they will know that writing can bring them power." More ›

The Spirit of Volunteerism in English Composition

Jim Wilcox, a teacher-consultant with the Oklahoma Writing Project, has his students do investigative reports on local issues and organizations. Students not only improve their writing and research skills; they "learn that their own talents and time are valuable assets in solving some of the world's problems." More ›

Digital Comics Spur Students' Interest in Writing

Fourth grade teacher Glen Bledsoe, of the Oregon Writing Project at Willamette University, has his students create comic strips together, which engages their creativity and teaches them writing, critical thinking, and other skills. More ›

Creating Comics Using Bitstrips for Schools

Have you thought about using comic strips as a new way to engage your students? It seems like a perfect step along the continuum of multimedia use in composition, but the artwork aspect of it may be daunting. Enter: Bitstrips for Schools. More ›

Getting Real: Authenticity in Writing Prompts

Teachers often strive to develop exercises in which students write "authentic" pieces for an audience beyond the teacher. Patricia Slagle of the Louisville Writing Project shows how newspapers provide a great real venue for such prompts. "Imagine you are the drama critic for your local newspaper..." More ›

Stories Inside Stories: Creating Successful Writers in an Urban High School

Judith Baker and Joe Check of the Boston Writing Project provide a group of urban high school students with the real work of producing a student newspaper, which allows them to succeed in new ways as writers. More ›

Read All About It: Ten Terrific Newspaper Lessons

Education World offers ten lessons to help you integrate the newspaper into your classroom curriculum. Included: Activities that involve students in interviewing a local newspaper reporter, creating editorial cartoons, comparing newspapers, and more. More ›

Great Ways to Teach ANY Day's Times

Warm-up activities, curriculum extensions, skill builders, literacy games, substitute lessons, or just for fun: this collection of reusable activity sheets can be used with any day's edition of The New York Times. More ›

10 Ways to Use The New York Times for Teaching Literature

Classics, contemporary fiction, young adult and graphic novels, sequels and adaptations: Here are 10 ideas that will help any teacher use the vast resources of to show students the connections between any type of literature and life. More ›

5 Easy Ways to Learn Grammar With The New York Times

Boycott the red pen that ensnares us in syntactical games of right and wrong, and pick up a piece of literature—or any newspaper—and explore the English language with fresh eyes. More ›

NCTE Collection of Resources for National Newspaper Week

NCTE provides a collection of ReadWriteThink lessons for ways to explore and celebrate newspapers. More ›

100 Ways to Use the Newspaper

The Seattle Times offers this list of activities designed to help students to improve their understanding and use of the electronic newspaper. More ›

How to Use the Newspaper in the Classroom - 38 tips

This site presents some strategies for ways to use newspapers to engage reluctant readers and writers in newspaper-based literacy activities. More ›

Publication Venues for Student Writing

A Collection of Online Publishing Opportunities for Student Writing

Writing Project teachers have always found authentic ways to propel their students toward writing to an audience beyond the classroom. This collection focuses on online publishing opportunities for students of all ages—including literary magazines, book review sites, and even jokes and riddles. More ›

Spotlight on Teen Ink: A Magazine Written by and for Teens

Writing Project teachers and their students have been involved in Teen Ink for years—publishing stories, poems, reviews, interviews with notable people, and more. More ›

Writing Project Sites Get Involved in The Best Teen Writing

One of the highest honors that teen writers can receive is publication in The Best Teen Writing. Writing Project sites are becoming increasingly involved in evaluating the writing in their region as affiliates of the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, which publishes the anthology. More ›

Student Press Initiative Motivates Young Authors

Working to turn a broad range of students into published authors, the Student Press Initiative deepens the learning experience for thousands of young writers. More ›

Spotlight on Think It Ink It: They Supply the Pictures, Kids Supply the Story

Think It Ink It creates illustrated books that children themselves write—beginning with wordless picture books that encourage both reading and writing. More ›

Publishing Opportunities for Teachers and Sites

Writing Equals Advocacy for West Texas Writing Project

As part of the of the West Texas Writing Project's summer institute, Site Director Jonna Perrillo implemented an op-ed project, which brings teachers' classrooms and educational opinions to readers of the El Paso Times. More ›

Teachers Writing for Publication: Tips from a Teacher, Author, and Editor

The former editor of NCTE's English Journal, Louann Reid, provides tips for writing professional articles, a list of appropriate journals that accept professional writing, examples of "calls for manuscripts," and an inside look at the manuscript review process. More ›

The Fellow Who Collected Rejections

Four years ago, the Inland Area Writing Project in California began requiring a piece of professional writing from all summer institute participants. Teacher-consultant Barbara Giles describes the program and how it has led to a total of 35 pieces being published. More ›

One Idea—Many Audiences

Ann Dobie, director of the Louisiana Writing Project State Network, describes how she transformed a graduate research paper on teaching spelling into an academic conference presentation, a professional development workshop, a journal article, and then a book. More ›

Book Review: Educators as Writers: Publishing for Personal and Professional Development

Edited by Carol Smallwood, this collection of short pieces from published teacher-writers offers concrete, useful strategies covering every aspect of writing for publication in a variety of genres. More ›

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