Importance of newspapers in schools

Growing up, we always had the Birmingham News delivered to our

house. While there was nothing local in it, I loved reading it from cover to cover. We also had lots of other reading materials around.

I was blessed to be reared in a home where reading and keeping up with what was happening in the world was important; however, that is not the case with many students.

Newspapers in Education has been around since the early 1930s when the New York Times and the Milwaukee Journal started projects

offering the newspaper as a “living textbook.”

The program is used to teach reading, grammar, geography and unlimited ideas that teachers can come up with in the classroom. With school budgets shrinking, the newspaper has become an invaluable tool to teachers.

In Monroe County, more than 1,000 Monroe Journal papers are placed weekly in eight schools. There are other teachers who would like to have access to the papers for their classrooms, but they are just not available.

For many students, their families do not utilize the printed media.

Getting the news from the television and from printed media can be different. It is important for students, as early as Kindergarten, to start learning to read and gather information from newspaper.

They help students develop daily reading habits that will last their entire lives.

Studies have shown that students who learn using newspapers become more active citizens as adults. They also grow up to vote in local, state and national elections. The students in schools with NIE programs do 10 percent better in reading scores than students in schools without the programs.

I have been a voracious reader my entire life. I will read anything and can’t imagine not having newspapers, magazines or books in the house. I love to see kids get excited about reading, and want to try and help them have access to reading materials.

We at the Monroe Journal are trying to do our part to give Monroe County students a head start on reading and learning. Several years ago, we were fortunate to have local businesses who were sponsors of the NIE in schools. Lately, we have not had those sponsors and economic times have made it difficult for us to continue to be able to provide the newspapers. We currently do not know how much longer we will be able to provide NIE to the schools. Our rate is as low as we can go at 10 cents per newspaper copy. To fully fund our current NIE program, it costs $1,306.50 per school year.

Please join me in making a commitment to help keep these newspapers in our Monroe County Schools: Amory Middle School, East Amory Elementary School, West Amory Elementary School, Hamilton Elementary School and High School, Hatley Schools, Shivers Middle School and Smithville Schools.

I realize we are all busy buying Christmas gifts for our loved ones, but you can donate any amount at any time. Any club, organization or business who is interested in helping our schools can also make a commitment as a sponsor. If we all work together, we can keep the students involved in reading newspapers.

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