The value of reading as a predictor of success is well-documented, especially for children. Real-life reading, from newspapers and periodicals, broadens a child’s view of the world and the depth of their literacy. To support teachers and students in literacy and learning, the Mountain Democrat has participated in the Newspapers in Education program since 2002.
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Students who participate in Newspapers in Education programs score 10 percent better on standardized tests, according to a study released by the Newspaper Association of America Foundation. Middle school students show significant increases in performance with participation in NIE programs and the greatest benefits are found in schools with large minority populations.
Currently 27 teachers in five El Dorado County schools receive free copies of the Mountain Democrat for their students, and they use the paper in a variety of ways: to increase student knowledge of local events and volunteer opportunities, to build self-esteem, as a basis for discussion, to practice real-life skills such as making shopping lists and checking the weather, and for expanding literacy by reading for purpose. They are even recycled for art class projects after the papers have been used by core classes.
“Thank you so much for your part in continuing the Newspapers in Education program,” read a recent e-mail from LeeAnn Galbraith of Career Guidance at Union Mine High School. “The Mountain Democrat has become a huge part of the culture and education process here at Union Mine High School. We host a huge Career Day here at Union Mine, and I often glean contacts via interesting articles I read in the Democrat about local folks with unique careers. Students often peruse the papers in my office to keep tabs on school sports or to find informative articles on local news to report upon for current event assignments. In a world of online resources, the Mountain Democrat is a refreshing and valuable alternative.”
The newspaper can be used at every grade level and includes a weekly Kidscoop page for younger students.
“The Kidscoop page, published in our paper each week, is particularly popular with students,” said Gerry Ulm, Mountain Democrat circulation manager. The Mountain Democrat also has a Website link to Kidscoop, which expands the published page and provides lesson ideas for kids, teachers and parents.
Through grants and the donations of local businesses and subscribers, the newspapers are paid for and delivered, free of charge, to participating schools and teachers. Teachers can choose how many papers and which days they want delivered. The Mountain Democrat publishes a thank-you advertisement the last Wednesday of every month to acknowledge the businesses that have chosen to help with the program.
NIE is an internationally-acclaimed program. Schools or teachers that wish to participate in the Newspapers in Education program with the Mountain Democrat may call 530-344-5000 and ask for more information to sign up.
Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.