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West Mifflin Area students learn how newspapers enhance daily lessons

| Thursday, April 10, 2014, 10:30 a.m.

West Mifflin Area students are learning that newspapers can enhance daily lessons across their curriculum.

Fourth-graders in Amanda Monzak's classroom at the district middle school took part in introduction to Newspapers in Education activities this month.

They familiarized themselves with newspaper contents with a scavenger hunt through sections of The Daily News. They tested their language arts knowledge by identifying examples of parts of speech — nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives — using words they saw in print. They even brushed up on math skills by budgeting for groceries using retailer inserts and display advertisements.

While the tasks were challenging at first, students were engaged as they learned to navigate the newspaper.

“There's so much stuff in here that you might want to buy or want to learn about,” Kayla Kerr said. “It makes you want to read more newspapers.”

Samantha Curcio usually flips through the comics while her uncle reads articles. She said she didn't realize how many sections were available with articles on different topics such as community news, opinions, food and churches.

While his grandparents read newspapers every day, Nasir Rosser said he's never looked closely at one.

“This is cool,” he said. “I didn't know how much was in here. We get to see how the world is and see what the newspaper can teach us.”

Carson Novosel said it was interesting to tie current events in with what students already are learning.

“It's fun because you can learn about the news, too,” he said. “You see everything that's happening around the world and in our community.”

Flipping through sports pages, students were excited to see how upperclassmen at West Mifflin Area High School were doing on the baseball field. In their scavenger hunt, students were asked to find reference to a sports team. Nearly everyone chose their home district's Titans.

Haley Galioto said the best part of Newspapers in Education activities is “working together with friends and having fun.”

Mariah Dutrieuille was familiar with the program, because her third-grade teacher incorporated newspapers into occasional lessons. She said she was happy to try again in fourth grade.

“I was amazed that most of the students hadn't looked at a newspaper before,” Monzak said. “They need to be exposed to different ways of getting information. They all know how to get on a computer and do research, but it's nice to step back and try things the old-fashioned way.”

Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.