Collecting materials is an on-going process but worth doing it. Choosing and collecting articles, advertisements, headlines, etc is a hard task. The materials should be put under certain categories, they should be systemized. It is good to categorize the materials under certain titles, headlines, etc. or under topic titles, sport, cinema, relationship, according to the language level of students, etc. Using photographs and illustrations is also very important. When choosing the right and suitable newspaper materials to use in the classroom, the teacher should take into consideration the length of the article, the complexity of the vocabulary used, the subject matter, the time available as well as the level of the students.
Using newspapers in the classroom should not be avoided, only thinking that they are difficult for students. It is true that the language there is different and more difficult but after all it is authentic.
There are several ways of making newspapers materials usable for the various levels of students, by selecting interesting materials. Involving students in pre-activity, while-activity preparation techniques, in the selection of materials and designing the tasks are the key to success.
The teacher has the possibility of using pre-activities and while-activities, some of them being listed by Sanderson, 2002:
► Give the students the material before the lesson, ask them to look for vocabulary as homework;
►Explain the key vocabulary in the materials;
►Summarize the newspaper item;
►Ask the students to brainstorm what they know about the newspaper item;
►Let your students read a newspaper report;
►Tell the students the headline and show any accompanying photograph;
►Before reading, write on the board and explain the key vocabulary, then ask the students to use a dictionary during the activity;
►Ask the students to predict the story-line;
►Encourage your students to go for the overall meaning of the text, rather than understand every word;
►Encourage students to bring to their reading their own world knowledge;
►Try to help the students in understanding the grammatical complexity of the text, facilitate to assimilate the density of information, guess the low-frequency vocabulary, etc.
The newspaper activities might be interesting and multidimensional if the teacher uses different materials:
ACTIVITY – MATERIAL
– Headline combinations – Headlines
– Categorizing articles
– Ranking articles Articles
– Putting it back together – Press conference
– Exchanging the news
– Filling in the gaps – News flash / News in brief
– Putting the picture in the story
– Predicting photographs
– Famous faces
– Photo stories Photographs / Moving pictures
– Classifying adds
– Role play ads – Advertisements
– Acting out cartoons – Cartoons and strip cartoons
– Predicting the weather
– Matching weather forecast – Weather forecast
– Newspaper reading corner
– Newspaper puzzles – Newspapers
– Find someone who – Job interview
In conclusion, because the newspapers cover issues which are of high interest to students, the teachers should be stimulated to use them while teaching English in the classroom.
Sanderson, P. 2002 Using Newspapers in the Classroom, CUP