Newspapers. You’ve probably read one at some point in your life –– even if it was just to read the latest Peanuts comic strip! But what if we told you that by using the format of a newspaper, you could help your child better remember important topics within history?
In this article, we will discuss the concept of creative writing newspapers, why they are a useful tool when teaching history, and how you can start implementing them into your curriculum at home.
What are Creative Writing Newspapers?
Creative writing newspapers are a tool that combines multiple school subjects (writing and art) to learn history. The idea is that once a child has mastered the information regarding a particular historical subject, they write how they think a journalist would discuss that specific topic in their own homemade newspaper.
This exercise is meant to be fun and inviting for children, especially for those who may not yet have much experience with writing. It allows them to paraphrase a historical event in their own words while challenging them in ways that we’ll discuss in a moment.
How are Creative Writing Newspapers Structured?
You may be wondering what exactly a creative writing newspaper article is. Similar to a typical newspaper, a creative writing newspaper is made up of multiple sections (i.e., national news, politics, opinions, culture, entertainment, sports, etc.). Within each section are articles that consist of an eye-catching headline, body copy that states information from most significant to least important, and an image to accompany the overall piece.
The only difference with creative writing newspapers is that they are somewhat fictitious and allow a writer to step back in time and report as if they were a journalist witnessing the events of history firsthand. This is not just another exercise that forces kids to put their knowledge onto paper. It allows them to apply their personality in a fun and creative way.
Newspaper Article Format for Students
Creative writing newspapers may seem like a simple assignment, but unlike your typical 500-word essay, this type of writing is short and concise. Much like a column in an actual newspaper, children are challenged to get to the crux of the matter in a limited amount of space. This helps teach children the importance of spatial awareness when writing, which can be somewhat tricky for kids who write with big letters.
Furthermore, it forces children to remember crucial information about the subject. It’s the main points of the study that will stick with children for the rest of their lives, so you may as well challenge them with fewer lines and a smaller space to make their point.
Here is a creative writing article example, The Camp Kettle, found in our Time Travelers Civil War U.S. History Study. The headlines are already provided, leaving students to fill in the blank sections with the information they’ve learned throughout their studies.
There are even pre-written advertisement headlines as well. For example, the student chose to feature Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe in the section labeled “Martin’s Books.” As you can see, the student decided to mention information regarding its controversy and popularity, which is exactly what most of us remember about the book today.
Why Should you Use Creative Writing Newspapers to Teach History?
When a child is tasked to write a newspaper article for school, it gives them a break from traditional classroom learning methods, plus it gives them a chance to practice other school subjects like creative writing and art. This type of diversity makes learning more exciting, especially for children who may enjoy drawing or writing as opposed to textbook reading.
An assignment like this is unique and requires a different stream of thought. It’s a new medium that many children may not be familiar with. For some, it may be their first exposure to writing in the style of a journalist. A journalist may write about an event they witness happening from a particular angle, or the article may be an interview with a famous person, containing dialogue and giving a more on-the-spot human-interest quality. And who knows, it could even teach them to read an actual newspaper as inspiration for the assignment.
The result is quite a spectacle as well. Children will be proud of their newspaper, filled with their own pictures and creative stories. They may even show off their newspaper and teach their peers. After all, the best way to internalize information is to explain it to someone else!
Why Does Creative Writing Matter?
If we’re honest, creative writing is often a subject in school that gets neglected. Unlike academic writing that can be restrictive, creative writing allows a child to use their imagination and express their feelings. This is where the use of creative writing newspapers are beneficial. Not only do they help children put onto paper what they’ve learned, but it gives them the freedom to recount the subject matter in their own words.
When history and creative writing come together, children (and adults!) better remember the subject. This is why historical fiction is so popular among avid readers. Think of a Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens or War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. These classics have helped millions of people remember and relate to events such as the French Revolution and Napoleon’s invasion of Russia.
After all, not all children comprehend history the same way. For example, a boy may relate to a particular battle in a war very differently than a girl. The boy may gloriously relay events, while the girl may report the facts in a more somber tone. As long as the information is accurate, the emotions expressed can help the child understand the gravity of the event, and put themselves in the shoes of those living during that time.
How to Include Creative Writing Newspapers in Your History Curriculum.
Implementing creative writing newspapers into your history curriculum is easy. To construct a creative writing newspaper for school, you can simply use a sheet of standard paper and outline sections with boxes or dividing lines for children to write in.
You can also pre-write headlines to give children a specific topic to work with, or depending on their age they can write them on their own. Additionally, you can even leave space for children to draw pictures. However, if your child prefers coloring pictures, then you can print images from online that they can cut out, paste in, and color themselves.
For those of you who would prefer pre-printed assignments, we offer a variety of creative writing newspapers through Homeschool in the Woods for grades 3rd-8th. Our news report writing topics for students vary anywhere from the Old Testament, the Renaissance, Medieval times, American history, and more. Plus, our templates already come with pre-printed pictures, and article and advertisement headlines.
If you would like to see a homeschool mother give a brief review of her experience with our creative writing newspapers, check out this video, starting at 09:15!
Send Your Reporters Off Into the World!
As Editor-in-Chief, it’s now time to send your journalists off. We hope that creative writing newspapers add a new dynamic to your history program. In our experience, they have only helped bring an increased level of enthusiasm for learning history, as well as a newfound love for creative writing.
If you have experimented with creative writing newspapers before, please feel free to post your examples in the comments below. And don’t forget to share this blog post with other homeschool parents who could benefit from this teaching tool!
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