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Reading Lesson Plan

Newspaper Unit

Teacher: McCrea
Date: November 14, 1996
Proficiency Level: Advanced
Age Level: Adults
Estimated Time of Lesson: 60 minutes

Teaching Point/Objectives:

(What students will be able to do at the end of the lesson)

Materials Needed:


Pre-Assessment/Warm-up (10 minutes):

Review following terms from previous day's lesson:

direct quote
indirect quote

Introduce newspaper to students.

Presentation (45 minutes):

Pair Work (35 minutes):

Divide class into pairs. Pass out newspapers and worksheets. Introduce scavenger hunt. Each pair will answer as many questions as possible in 30 minutes. The pair who completes the most answers will receive a prize (this can be adjusted to fit needs and/or personalities in class). Throughout the scavenger hunt, the teacher will circulate and answer questions. Activity will be a student-centered one. Class Work (10 minutes):

Ask pairs to return to their seat and congratulate the winners. Ask for general comments about activity. Discuss the following questions: Who is the newspaper's target audience? What issues are important to the newspaper's target audience? How would this newspaper be different if it were for a large city (i.e. New York or Los Angeles)? How would this newspaper's format change if it were a national newspaper (i.e. USA Today)?

Conclusion and Homework Assignment (5 minutes):

  1. Students will write a journal entry about their experience with the newspaper. Ideas to consider in their writing: Do newspapers from your own country differ from the one you examined? In what ways?
  2. How much news from your own country does the paper you examine cover?
  3. How much American news do papers from your country cover?
  4. What did you like about the newspaper you examined? What didn't you like?

Contingency Plan:

The teacher will have to contact a local newspaper ahead of time to get enough papers for the class. (Often papers will give classes extra copies of the previous day's newspaper.). If it isn't possible to get enough copies, various things can be done: 1. Divide the class into larger groups. 2. Divide the newspapers into sections and have each group review a part of the paper. 3. Use different newspapers; in the class discussion, have groups discuss the differences they saw in the different papers.


(Note strengths and weaknesses. Use back of page if necessary)

My original lesson plan was pretty vague. I didn't consider how I would make it work in the classroom. My group suggested that the activity being a paired scavenger hunt. I think this is positive for a couple reasons: 1) It makes it more fun for the students. 2) Because the activity is a game, the students won't feel intimidated by the number of questions. However as participants in a contest, the students will try to get as much done as possible. 3) By working in pairs, the students will also feel less intimidated. I think the activity itself is good though--especially as the second day of a longer unit. The students will learn terminology, etc. on the first day of the unit. This activity will give them a general overview of a newspaper, as well as an incentive to really examine a newspaper in detail. Later lessons will discuss individual aspects (for example, want-ads, editorials, etc.) In greater detail.

Scavenger Hunt

Use a copy of an English newspaper and answer the following questions. If the question is not applicable (for example, if the type of article asked about in the question does not appear on that day). write "NA."

1. How many sections are there in the newspaper? How many total pages are there?

2. What is on the front page of each section?

3. What is the most important news story? Where is it? How many columns does it take? What percentage of the page does it take up? Does it have a photo?

4. What is the second most important news story? Where is it? How many columns does it take? What percentage of the page does it take up? Does it have a photo?

5. How many news articles are there on the front page? How many of them are domestic news? international news?

6. Where is the index? What page do you find news articles on? business news? sports news?

7. On what page do you find TV and radio schedules? What else do you see on that page?

8. On what page(s) do you find comics? How many are there?

9. On what page(s) do you find classified ads? How many are there? What are they about?

10. On what page(s) do you find letters to the editor? How many are there? What are they about?

11. Where do you find international news articles? domestic news articles? How many of each are there?

12. What are the three largest headlines, in order of size?




13. Find three articles with bylines. Who wrote the articles? Headline Author

14. Find three articles with datelines outside of the US. Where did the articles come from? What were the dates? Headline Place Date

15. Find leads with the following information:

a. what, who, where, and when

b. what, who, where, and why

c. what, who, where, and how

16. Find a direct and an indirect quote.



17. How many feature stories are there? Choose five feature articles, and fill out the following chart.

Headline Topic Author(s)

18. How many sports news or sports feature stories are there? Choose four sports stories and fill out the following chart. Headline News or Sports Feature U.S. or International

19. Where can you find an editorial? What is the topic? Is the topic of local, national, or international interest? What is the editor's position on that issue?

20. Fill out the chart below with information about the columns that appear in the paper.

Column Topic Author Page

21. List the articles on the business page. How many of these are international?

22. How many pages of classified ads do you find? What types of classified ads are there?

23. Choose one advice column. What subject is the advice column about? What is the advice given?

24. What else do you find in this newspaper?

25. Look for examples of headlines with the following characteristics, and fill in the chart with the page number, the headline, and the headline rewritten as a regular sentence. Characteristic Page Headline Rewritten Headline
"and" omitted and replaced with a comma
a "be" verb omitted
a pronoun omitted
an article omitted
a simple present tense verb that refers to a past event

an -ing form of the verb
"to" and a verb
an abbreviation with an apostrophe
an abbreviation with a period
three other abbreviations

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1997 © Dr. Lynn E. Henrichsen
Department of Linguistics
Brigham Young University
Last Updated: Saturday, June 7, 1997