School & Community News

New lessons for reader classrooms
December 16, 2018

December 2018 … Healthy NewsWorks is rolling out new lessons to broaden engagement in health learning and nonfiction reading throughout the schools where its health-focused newspapers are published.

Developed in tandem with Mia Blitstein, an educational consultant who is also a professional developer at Children’s Literacy Initiative, the lessons are intended to help teachers integrate timely literacy concepts such as identifying reliable sources and writing letters to the editor.

“These skills will help students become critical thinkers and show them how to ensure their voices are heard,” Mia said.

The upgraded lessons are designed for “reader” classrooms where students aren’t on their school’s newspaper staff but have the opportunity to read, reflect on, and respond to the work of their student-reporter peers. The lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards, a set of guidelines for what students should know and be able to do to achieve success in their education and worklife.

The lesson topics include reviewing books, games, or websites. Students also learn to write letters to health leaders profiled in the Healthy NewsWorks book series, Leading Healthy Change In Our Communities.

“We have been working hard to create high-quality lessons that nurture a connection between the text and the lives of young people,” Mia said. “Once they get a chance to explore rich texts and entertaining games, there will be no shortage of opinions to share!”

Marian Uhlman, executive director of Healthy NewsWorks, said the lessons will broaden the impact of the newspapers and other materials created by student reporters. “These lessons will make it easier for teachers to expose students to authentic nonfiction that’s about their schools and community and will help children learn to make healthier choices in their lives,” she said.

The first lessons are now available and more will be added soon.

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Since 2003, Healthy NewsWorks has been empowering elementary and middle school students to become researchers, writers, and confident communicators who advance health understanding and literacy through their factual publications and digital media.