EDITOR'S NOTE: Newspaper in Education Week is observed the first week in March.
You're never too young to start learning the value of printed language.
Even before young children can read, they can understand the function of newspapers in society. That understanding stems from something even more fundamental, though: the basic understanding that print conveys meaning.
It can start as young as pre-school.
I work in a pre-school classroom and the curriculum supports three essential domains that are key in early childhood education: phonological awareness, oral language, and books and print knowledge. Children who gain a sense of appreciation for print develop deeper comprehension strategies and learn that written word can be powerful in connecting people with their communities and the rest of the world.
The Newspapers In Education program encourages teachers to work local newspapers into the curriculum to promote real-world learning. As children sift through the pages of a newspaper searching for comics they will stumble on all kinds of information that they might not have otherwise sought out. They might develop new interests and relate to the things they see.
The younger children make these connections, the more likely they are to be newspaper readers in the future. Physically turning the pages of a newspaper gives kids something more substantial to connect with than scrolling through a tablet, iPhone, or computer screen.
We live in the digital era. Everything can be done from a mobile device and the answer to all of our questions can simply be answered if we just click "search." While the technology that we seem to rely on can be extremely convenient at times, it's not always practical.
Children don't usually have access to devices without their parents and probably require some assistance when trying to use them. Newspapers are more kid-friendly, and not to mention, cheaper. Because they are so accessible, newspapers can be effective learning tools both in and out of the classroom.
Newspapers In Education uses newspapers in an educational setting to teach kids about their communities. Teachers shouldn't be the only ones working toward educating children about print knowledge and news though; parents should also play a role in influencing the development of children's interests.
Children watch their parents constantly. If they notice their parents consuming the news regularly, they are likely to develop the same habit of keeping up with current events.
It might inspire a child to take up a new hobby or chase a dream, but first they have to be exposed.
Newspapers are already being used in countless classrooms as a tool for educating. Now it's time for the parents to bring them into the home as well.
Kaylie Denenberg is a magazine editing student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism with a minor in sociology. She loves to read and appreciate the English language. Kaylie is from San Diego, Calif.