Oh, the good old-fashioned newspaper. Where has it gone?
I remember as a kid growing up in suburban New York when we started getting the New York Times delivered. The monstrosity that was the Sunday Times was always a big deal in my house (seriously, that thing probably weighed 10 pounds - I often carried it from the bottom of the driveway to the house - Sunday workout done). We would dissect it and claim our favorite sections - mine was definitely Style. Then we would sit at the breakfast table reading and chatting, often migrating to the living room when we had gotten enough food and caffeine. I still like to do the same thing when visiting my parents' house.
I really have to thank my parents for being avid newspaper readers because it made me want to be. I really think that there is something special and different about sitting on the couch with that big paper and a cup of coffee (or tea in my case). It's just not the same as sitting in front of your computer, phone, or TV. In my opinion, print news is not dead.
So, what about the diversity thing? And what does this have to do with our kiddos? Well the thing that's so great about print newspapers is that there is a plethora of ways to use it for all kids. Below are some ideas:
For the Artistic Kid: Who here didn't use newspapers on at least a monthly basis for an art project when you were younger? I know I did. You can do the same with your kids just change around the art project. Incorporate diversity in there by having them find words or pictures that have to do with a particular topic. Talk about how easy or difficult it is to find people of different races in the newspaper. There are lots of options. Use your imagination!
For the Analytical Kid: This is for the kids who can already read - probably best for teens and tweens. Have them read some of the articles in the paper and talk about the content and language in the articles related to diversity. Are most of the articles you are reading about a diversity of people? Do you notice that people of color are designated as such whereas people who are Caucasian are not (this happens frequently in articles)? Over time, do you notice that certain people are discussed often in the paper while others are left out? Design this around your child's interests.
For the Budding Writer: Have your kid read an article and then write an alternative version that focuses on diversity or changes the language. You could also have your child write an opinion piece and submit it to the paper.
How will you use newspapers with your kids? Do you have other ideas that aren't listed above? Leave a comment below and share your ideas!
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Dr. Sweeney is a licensed school psychologist and cultural competence expert. Here are her musings on life in a multicultural world.
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