Newspaper is a living textbook

Thursday, March 6, 2008

This guest editorial is being published in honor of National Newspaper in Education Week and was written by Dave Berry, community newspaper publisher.

Much is said and written about the mistakes made in the rearing and educating of children. Many are to blame: Parents. Teachers. Administrators. Lawmakers. The courts. The media. Hollywood. Fill in the blank. No doubt, there is plenty of blame to go around, but let's leave that discussion for another day. This message is about one solution.

There are many tools available for building solid learning foundations for today's school-age children. Among them is the community newspaper, especially when introduced in classrooms through a Newspaper in Education program.

The local newspaper is a living textbook. It's about a child's world and a child's community. Often, it is about that child. Local newspapers are being used in successful NIE programs to teach math, science, English, civic service, government, consequences of bad behavior, rewards for good behavior, and much more.

A newspaper teaches the value and rewards that come from reading, as opposed to what is learned with a TV remote control or video game stick in hand. Participants can even take pleasure in finding some of our mistakes. Oh, what fun that is.

Newspapers as textbooks are low in cost under all circumstances, but they are free for education when supported by caring citizens and businesses through tax-deductible contributions to many foundations available to help with such projects. Some of those gifts have come when John and Jane Citizen respond to invitations to add some amount to their own subscription renewals, with the extra being designated for NIE programs.

Each gift of any kind validates our belief that newspaper readers know what they have gained from their reading habits and many are eager to help a new generation share in the rewards.

With the first week of March being National Newspaper in Education Week, we thought it a good time to thank the many sponsors, participating teachers, administrators and students for their support and participation in NIE programs throughout the nation. It's also a good time to invite others to join the cause.

For the past few years, the Cassville Democrat has offered a Newspapers in Education program and a number of Cassville teachers have taken advantage of the opportunity to have newspapers sent free to their classrooms each week thanks to the generosity of local business sponsors. This year's NIE sponsors are: Commerce Bank, Able 2, AAA Bugs Away and Fastrip. Anyone who is interested in learning more about the Cassville Democrat's NIE program is encouraged to call Lisa Schlichtman, editor, at 847-2610 or e-mail her at