Kid-made Newspaper: Writing with Real-world Context

by Rashmie on April 3, 2012 · 16 comments

in Read & Write

kids newspaper creative writing ideas

For the past few months, Pari and I have discussed a few times about creating our own newspaper – a monthly – to begin with.

We are still brainstorming what the newspaper will focus on – news from her friends/play circle, about our homeschooling, a family newspaper. Or, may be a combination of all three.

Pari loves to write and I think that giving her ‘real world context’ to express herself is the best way to encourage her passion for the written word. By real world context, I mean opportunities that will allow her to connect her writing with day-to-day living and experiences. For example – writing letters to friends and family and sending them by post; writing emails, writing her own autobiography, maintaining a daily list of things to do. Or, reading my blog posts and replying to the comments that we receive – from all you lovely people!

All this – versus writing an essay – about farm animals, let’s say. I don’t think it can ever be as stimulating as writing something that relates with what she does, feels, talks. AND – most important, finding a REAL AUDIENCE to read her writings to…
I mean, take those letters for example – they will be read by her friends and real-time response will be shared. This sort of writing is a two-way communication as compared to an essay!

This is what makes me think that a Newspaper will be a very stimulating two-way method of writing/communication for a 6-year old who is able to read fluently and express herself in writing, albeit not as fluently, because English is our second language.

The newspaper would be a commentary on the real world in which she lives – the way she perceives. And, knowing that her perspective is being read and enjoyed by someone who’s closely connected with her part of her world, is so exciting and encouraging for a budding writer.

A monthly Family Newspaper?

Starting a monthly family newspaper actually sounds very meaningful to me. Not sure, if Pari would be equally excited. I was thinking of having Pari call up each family member and ‘gather’ news from them – playing the role of a reporter – and then coming back to compile it all with help from me. Since Avie’s side of the family is down South, this monthly project would help her connect with them above and beyond.

Nevertheless, for now, we just wanted to get going with ‘something’ to get a feel of what this will be like, how much effort will it take, what size would be ‘workable’ etc.

Talking about size, this girl wouldn’t settle for anything less than a standard newspaper itself. I kept telling her it would take a lot to fill up all sides of a two-leaf paper this size. But, she was keen on making it look like a “real newspaper”.

Except that “real newspapers” aren’t even remotely close to pink! Or, at least I haven’t see any…! Tell me if YOU have…

But again, she has a real strong mind of her own and will not budge come what may.

The How…

So, we took a large sheet of ivory paper and folded it into half. Then, one more fold to get the ‘exact’ newspaper fold and size.

Pari painted the top part (the first half of what would be the front page of the newspaper) in pink. We didn’t have the exact shade of pink that she wanted. So, she mixed red and white to create her own shade of pink. Amen!

While the paint was left to dry, we (she) had to figure out the name for her newspaper.

After brainstorming for a few minutes, we settled on “The Newsy Fairy”. I quite like it. What about you?

The format of the newspaper. We studied 2-3 different newspapers (national newspaper, weekend paper, city edition) and discussed what was put where, how much space was allotted to what kind of news.

We discussed news on the front page versus the inside pages. We talked about what a ‘Headline News’ is. How is a news different from an ‘editorial’.

Why it’s important to always put a certain type of news on the same page and section of the newspaper. For example – regular sports news toward the end; city news on the inside pages.

We discussed why a ‘sports lover’ like her papa might always start reading a newspaper starting from the back because he knows sports news will be there and will not need to scour the pages.

Finally, it came down to filling up our newspaper with content. I encouraged her to tell me all the news from the past one week that she could remember – exciting, good, bad – at home, from her play-circle, from family etc.

Quite understandably, she wanted to highlight a play activity as the ‘headline news’.

And before she got down to writing her news story, I touched on the 5Ws and 1 H of journalism – Who, What, When, Where, Why, How – the essence of writing a news piece. Or, any sort of writing for that matter.

Ah, now I was talking from experience – from my days of writing Press Releases and creating ad campaigns and communication strategy!

Once the headline was written, she compiled the rest of the news in a ‘digest’ format – in the left column of the front page.

I think this format is simple and intuitive for a 6-year old.

creative writing ideas workshops in India for children

This was enough for one sitting. We’re going to go back and work on the other pages of the newspaper between today and tomorrow.

kid made newspaper india

A fun extension of this project was the pretend play part of it!

Pari wanted to ‘deliver’ the newspaper to me like the newspaper boy does it in the morning.

For this, I did a little drama – as if I’m waiting impatiently for my morning newspaper.

Just then, she goes out to ring the door bell and announces ‘neeeeeeewspaaaaaaper’ and hands it over to me with a (knowing) smile!

I take the newspaper excitedly pretending to sit with my morning cuppa of ginger tea and acting like I’m deeply engrossed in reading!

It’s a different ‘story’ though that I get to read my newspaper in such a leisurely, self-indulging manner only over weekends. One of the reasons being – the usual political stories that fill the newspapers. The daily fare doesn’t motivate me to more than just riffle through the pages. Except on weekends, when the stories are diverse and interesting.

What’s your favourite part of the newspaper you read?

Any specific news column, section, writer that you don’t like to miss in your newspaper?

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Nidhi April 3, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Wow! Hats off to you Pari. All the best for your Newspaper journey. I’ll be looking forward to all future editions now!
Nidhi’s recent fabulous post..The week that was!

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Rashmie April 7, 2012 at 7:56 am

Thank you, Nidhi :) We’ll be working sometime soon on the next edition!
Rashmie’s recent fabulous post..Earth Day Celebrations: Blog Hop Invite & Nature Walk Pictures

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obsessivemom April 3, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Oh My God… can’t belive I stumbled on your blog. I had the exact same idea about a home newspaper only I thought my kids were too young to absorb the concept – I have twins who’ll turn six in a few months. I thought they should be at least 8 or 10 to get it going. Pari seems to have taken to the idea so well — must try it out with mine too. Loved your post. Following…

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Rashmie April 7, 2012 at 7:58 am

Hi,
You must try this idea! With twin girls, it’ll be a blast collecting news, brainstorming on the design and putting it all together. They can even role-play news readers to the family members!
Thank you for following :)
Rashmie’s recent fabulous post..Earth Day Celebrations: Blog Hop Invite & Nature Walk Pictures

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Srishti April 3, 2012 at 5:51 pm

You guys are really creative! You do things which atleast I can’t even think of :). Amazing idea and execution! Love the name of news paper..goes really well with Pari. I want to read a direct print of the news paper..Pari please do drop a copy at Nani’s place also :)
Srishti’s recent fabulous post..Tip of the week : Peeled Ginger

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Rashmie April 7, 2012 at 8:01 am

Srishti,
So glad you liked the idea and thank you for all the nice and generous words :)
I’ll get photocopies of it soon so we can share with you all :)
Rashmie’s recent fabulous post..Earth Day Celebrations: Blog Hop Invite & Nature Walk Pictures

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Rachna April 3, 2012 at 6:29 pm

This is a fantastic idea… infact I ask my elder one who is gonnu turn 6 soon to start reading out the newspaper headlines..but she doesn’t find it to be interesting..and candidly speaking, today itself an idea stuck in my mind to have her write something that she did in school, engaged with friends etc… but this idea of yours is superfaboulous.. it meets multi purpose..to enhance writing skills along with having a concept of newspaper. Plus it would be real fun with kids… i am surely gonnu have this idea practiced by her very soon…. hope she enjoys too…

Thanks for sharing wonderful posts that stimulates your left and right brain :-)

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Rashmie April 7, 2012 at 8:05 am

Rachna, thank you, my dear :)
Your son will love the idea of making his own newspaper. It’s so exciting for them when you tell them they will become news reporters and create a newspaper with news about things happening in THEIR OWN world.
The newspaper itself can be as simple or elaborate depending on the child’s age and aptitude…
I’m so glad you find my blog stimulating for the left and right brain :) What a compliment!
Rashmie’s recent fabulous post..Earth Day Celebrations: Blog Hop Invite & Nature Walk Pictures

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nopinkhere April 4, 2012 at 6:24 pm

I know my 6yo son has talked about this. It’s funny given that we don’t see actual physical newspapers very often.

Oh, and there is one pink paper that I know of: The Financial Times. The Wikipedia entry shows a photo of the paper.

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Rashmie April 7, 2012 at 8:07 am

Hi,
There’s something about that piece of paper – the newspaper – that’s so invigorating! My daughter says she loves the smell of the paper…. :)

Thank you for the link to the pink paper! :) It’s amusing why a paper like The Financial Times can be ‘sorta’ pink!
Rashmie’s recent fabulous post..Earth Day Celebrations: Blog Hop Invite & Nature Walk Pictures

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ashita kaul April 6, 2012 at 2:19 pm

wow…..i have been recently keeping very busy….(and for a long time now)…didnt have time to check ur blog at all….and when i stumbled over it today…i really dont know ehere to start….hats off to u and pari for such fantastic ideas…..thanks i got an activity to do with my kids…..m SO EXCITED!

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Rashmie April 7, 2012 at 8:10 am

Ashita, hi! How wonderful to have you stop by after such a long time!
Let’s keep in touch and keep the momentum going… :)
Glad you found an exciting idea to do with your kids! Summer vacation is peeping. I hope my blog will give you all lots of ideas :)
Rashmie’s recent fabulous post..Earth Day Celebrations: Blog Hop Invite & Nature Walk Pictures

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Aasha April 10, 2012 at 6:51 pm

I’m in love with this pink newspaper <3 <3 <3

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Christine April 13, 2012 at 3:28 am

What a great way to engage a budding writer! Oh and I love the pink paper, wouldn’t want it anyother way!! Thanks for sharing with the kids co-op.
Christine’s recent fabulous post..Egg Carton Challenge!

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Kelly May 26, 2012 at 9:30 pm

I love this idea! My daughter is only a year but I’m a teacher and plan on homeschooling so I’m getting ideas ready :). As I read I immediately thought that this would also be a great way to summarize weekly or monthly achievements/activities she’s learned/done. If you do a monthly newspaper, she could add to an insert throughout the month: math corner, book reviews, science update, etc. I can’t wait to do this in five years, I hope I remember it :)

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Smita July 10, 2013 at 11:16 am

I just got here through Vogue. Love this newspaper and the thought behind it. Absolute genius! Can’t wait to try something similar with my 6 y.o. son, who can read fluently but hasn’t been writing too much.

Thanks for sharing and keep up this wonderful blog!

Smita
Smita’s recent fabulous post..Happy Birthday Tejal

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