Reinventing the school newspaper for the digital generation
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Writing for a purpose and audience encourages students to write and to work at becoming better writers. Many students don’t think of themselves as writers or are daunted by the writing process. Writing, revising, sharing, feedback and editing stories makes this process natural and enjoyable. The editing process promotes peer revision and learning.

“We believe it is paramount that the school curriculum reflects and utilises writing forms that young people enjoy and engage with, in order to demonstrate that writing is more than a compulsory task: it is an essential life skill.” Literacy Trust – 2009

Analysis of the outcomes of the BBC's School Report initiative, which used small group collaboration as the main pedagogy, had a marked and positive impact on the quality of writing. In particular, boys and students with English as an additional language (EAL) benefited from the opportunity to discuss ideas and write succinctly and logically, as opposed to expressively.  Specialist Schools and Academies Trust.

The School Report programme is once a year intervention mainly focused on careers.  The aim of Student News Trust is to make student journalism and its benefits a central part of British school life.  In America 78% of  High Schools have a newspaper and 22% of students have worked on the paper.  The research shows that

  • High school student journalists achieve higher grades and demonstrate better writing skills in college than their peers; (NAAF)

 

Reading

Reading ability is a well documented problem.

Most students have a reading age significantly below the level that GCSE texts are being aimed at meaning some students are not only failing to access the curriculum, but they are failing to comprehend key course and exam texts.

(Renaissance Learning 2012)

But school newspapers can help

  • More than 60% of young people with high newspaper exposure at school are regular readers as adults, compared to only 38% of those with no exposure.  (Growing Lifelong Readers NAAF 2004)
  • Students using newspapers in school perform 10-29% better in reading comprehension, vocabulary development and critical thinking as measured on standardised tests, than students who do not use newspapers in the classroom (Measuring Success, 2003).
  • that the use of newspapers in the classroom results in an increase in students' reading interest, reading attitudes, reading achievement, writing performance, comprehension, classroom verbal interactions, and an increase of reading in adulthood.                       
  • Students in schools with newspaper programmes did 10% better academically. (NAAF)