In Ditoria Garrett’s classroom, newspapers become an educational tool for writing poetry.
Garrett, an English teacher at Brunswick High School, introduced the Newspapers in Education program, which provides free copies of The Brunswick News to local teachers, in her creative writing class this semester.
Garrett’s students use the paper for an activity called “blackout poetry.”
“They blackout all the words they didn’t want and they keep certain words,” she said. “They have to explain what it meant … they had a rubric they were graded by. They had to have a certain amount of words.”
The writing exercise encourages creative word use.
Garrett also uses newspapers in her Read 180 class to help struggling readers improve their skills.
“In this class, what I’ve had them do is for extra credit they complete this current event sheet and they get to practice their writing skills and reading for comprehension,” she said. “So it’s making sure they understand how to summarize, which is a skill they have to know how to do.”
The students also learn how to read for detail, how to cite references and how to write questions.
The newspaper is an effective and relatable reading education tool, she said.
“The reading is not too hard for some of the students,” she said. “I have a degree in journalism too, so I know that you have to write where the majority of people can understand what you’re saying.”
The students in the class read at levels ranging from elementary school levels to ninth grade level.
“It’s easier for them to understand,” she said. “It’s relatable because it’s something that just recently happened and it’s local news.”
The newspaper is sometimes more interesting for young readers than some of the books assigned in class, she said.
“They have a hard time sometimes relating to the books that are provided with this program … so this is more interesting to them,” she said.