Newspaper articles are written in a style that is different from story writing, of course, but many of our students haven’t had much experience reading newspaper articles. To give them that experience, have them bring in short articles on topics that interest them. Read the articles, and analyze how the articles and headlines are constructed. Introduce (or review) the 5 W’s and H questions that journalists try to answer in the articles they write: who, what, when, where, why and how.
For a fun introduction to newspaper-style writing, try the activity below:
Write a brief newspaper article about something that happened to a Mother Goose character. Use a catchy headline:
CANDLE BURNS BOY
A nine-year-old boy was treated at the hospital earlier today for burns received while playing with a lighted candle. Apparently, the boy had been jumping over the candle when his clothes caught fire.
When questioned, the boy said, “I saw some lions jumping through flaming hoops on television, and I wanted to see if I could do it as quickly as they did.”
Here are some samples of Mother Goose “news articles” written by 4th graders:
BOY BREAKS HEAD
Jack and his sister Jill went up a hill because they needed a pail of water. Jack was playing and slipped.
“I turned around and he wasn’t there,” explained Jill. “He was rolling down the hill so I started after him. I slipped and fell and went rolling towards him.”
Jack and Jill are both in the hospital, Jack with a broken forehead, Jill with a broken arm.
GIRL ALMOST DROWNS
This morning Polly, 19, burned her hand while making tea.
“I put the kettle on and when I went to get the cups I swung around because I was so happy and I hit my hand on the boiling hot tea.”
She cried so hard that the house was beginning to flood but she didn’t notice because the burn hurt so badly. The water got higher and higher and right as she was about to drown, her boyfriend came and saved her.
“Tomorrow I’m going to ask her to marry me,” said her boyfriend.
LADY LIVES IN SHOE
Yesterday six children were removed from their shoe house because Mrs. Foot, 58, who abuses her adopted children, was reported to the police. Foot lives in a shoe with six children and a dog.
“It’s really crowded in there, so we’ve been offering her a house but she just won’t accept our offer,” said a representative from Fair Housing.
“This shoe-house has been in our family for over one hundred years!!” Mrs. Foot yelled as she kicked us out of her shoe.
We arrested her last evening at 5:13. Her last words were, “I’ll get you my pretty, and your little friends, too!”
It turns out she had rabies, and as for the kids, they were sent back to the foster homes that they were from.
EGG CHILD FALLS
Humpty Dumpty, 9, slipped and fell 18.5 meters off the brick wall by the king’s castle. He had been eating a banana earlier when he carelessly he threw the peel on the wall. Later when Humpty went to see the sun go down, he sat on the brick wall and slipped on the banana peel.
“I turned around from the round table and I heard a crack and a splat,” said one of the king’s men. “I couldn’t put him together,” said another man.
Cracked, Humpty was sent to the hospital. He was pronounced dead at 11:45 p.m. The funeral will be on Thursday, March 22, 2000. We will be having eggs and bacon for breakfast.
LAMB GOES TO SCHOOL
Yesterday a little girl named Mary Wright ,7, showed up at Northwood Elementary with a lamb right behind her.
She claims she wasn’t aware of the lamb’s presence.
The teacher said, “I was shocked and surprised that Mary would let an animal follow her to school. She used to be a responsible little girl.”
We asked a few of the children what they thought. Mary’s friend said, “It was nice of Mary to bring her lamb to school. She is always telling us so much about the lamb but we’ve never seen it.” The other children said they enjoy having a pet around.
The teacher was even more shocked when she opened the door at the end of the day. There was the lamb waiting for Mary to come out.
The teacher demanded an explanation. Mary simply said, “My lamb loves me and there isn’t anything I can do about it.”
The teacher’s response was this, “Just don’t let it happen again.”
Today Mary told her teacher that she gave her lamb a severe scolding and her teacher laughed and said not to worry about it any more and not another word was said about it.
From the Writing Curriculum Files of Children’s Author, Suzanne Williams www.suzanne-williams.com