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.
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.
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.
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!
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?