Teaching kids to write newspaper articles is an important skill. Articles are written in a concise, descriptive way. A lot of information is given with very few words, so the words need to be thoughtful and succinct. We’ll teach you how to teach your kids to write a good newspaper article plus we give you a printable newspaper article template for the kids to create a great looking project.
First, have the kids find 5-10 articles to read from a real newspaper. As they are read, brainstorm together some things that you notice about the writing, the format, the style–anything that makes a newspaper article different from a normal story.
- The information SHOULD be factual. You may want to note that even in our newspapers today the information is not always factual, but it SHOULD be. You may even find some opinions or misrepresentations while looking through articles.
- Articles often start at the end of the story (or the most recent development), then go back and fill in the details. For example, the article may say, “Tom Jones, 35 years old, was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his wife yesterday.” Then it would go backwards and tell the rest of the story.
- Articles include full names, dates, locations, and other specific details.
- They avoid flowery language and use as few words as possible to tell what happened.
- They have a professional tone, free from opinions. If someone were writing about the Tom Jones tragedy I previously mentioned the next line would not be. “He deserved it.” Even if he did!
Once you’ve made a list of what articles include, let the kids brainstorm their own article idea. It could be about a real current event, an event in your family, or an important historical headline. This printable template provides spaces for the name of the newspaper and a date line under that. The next box is for a catchy headline. The picture spot includes an area for a caption. After writing a rough draft, kids can transfer their article to the newspaper copy lines. At the end is a spot for a picture and bio on the author–the student of course! Click here for the printable, and be sure to check out our printables page for a lot more writing ideas, maps, and more. Also, you may want to swing by our writer’s workshop page for tons more writing ideas and lessons like making character wanted posters, creating travel brochures with our simple template, or transforming practicing spelling time into your kids’ favorite time of the day with lots of fun ways to practice spelling words.
- Learn what a reporter’s job is like. Go talk with one and be prepared with questions to ask just like any good reporter would. Most local newspaper offices are happy to let students come take a tour. We got to see the huge printing press in action and talk with reporters and editors about what their jobs are like.
- There’s a lot more in the newspaper than just regular articles. Have kids write a cartoon. Older students can even write editorial cartoons about current events.
- Cut out pictures from newspapers and practice writing catchy or funny captions for them.
- Learn about Johannes Gutenberg and the printing press.
- Look up advertisements in the paper and find deceptions or hidden messages within them. Ads are meant to persuade. They would often have you believe that owning the product will be fulfilling, make you popular, or provide lasting happiness. Analyze the ads and look for their persuasions. How true are they?
- Letters to the editor and other editorial columns are opposite from other articles in many ways. They are generally based on opinions rather than facts, and are intended to persuade rather than to inform. Write one.