Julia Johnson | Staff Intern
“I have won over 30 trophies! Wrestling is my sport. Sometimes it is hard and sometimes it’s easy,” wrote second-grader Noah for his ‘Newsbook’.
But Noah isn’t the only one who worked on his book. In fact, his whole second-grade class did, taking a week to build up his story and illustrate it.
Noah’s teacher Jackie Lackas of Parker said the idea of a ‘newsbook’ came from international literacy speaker Jill Eggleton when she spoke at USF and gave tips to help teachers teach students.
Newsbooks tries to celebrate about one student a week (sometimes greater or fewer than one student) by focusing the whole week on a non-fiction story about that child. Lackas said it’s “a fun way for kids to talk about themselves”.
The week begins with other students help brainstorm with the author, asking them questions to get to know them better. Then, Lackas encourages the chosen student to pick a narrowed topic that explores something about them. Some have chosen to write about their pets, what they did that summer, their family, or, as in Noah’s case, their favorite sport to play.
The exercise combines the skills of reading, forming sentence structure, language and knowing who one’s target audience is (will their parents and siblings be reading it?).
Lackas loves the excitement the Newsbook brings out, she said it makes the students feel like they’re performing onstage. At the end of the year she combines all of the different stories together into one large book and gives it to all of the families. For her, it’s fun to see them excited about celebrating their classmates.