Looking for ways to foster your child’s reading comprehension, vocabulary and critical thinking skills? Look no farther than your daily newspaper.

Acquainting your child with the daily or weekly newspaper can help him or her learn to organize and summarize information as he or she learns about world events.

The following are some ideas for “hands-on” newspaper activities. These are good rainy day activities and alternatives to watching television. These activities are recommended for children in third grade and higher:

• Parts of the newspaper: Make a list of vocabulary words such as headline, classified ads, cartoons, editorial and obituaries, etc. Divide a newspaper into its different sections and talk with your child about what is found in each section.

• Scavenger hunt: Make a list of articles that can be found in the newspaper. Suggestions may include an article about the weather; a picture of a candidate running for local, state or national office; a letter to the editor; an ad for a pet; today’s weather map and forecast; a picture of an athletic star; a movie schedule; or an article about the state government. Give the list to your child, and let him or her look for the items. As your child finds the items, have him or her cut them out. Talk with your child about the articles or pictures found.

• Current events book: Have your child select a current event each week. Have your child read the article and write a short summary. Collect the summaries in a folder — a great keepsake for children to look back and see the world events that were taking place when they were in school!

• Weather questions: Let your child look at the weather map section of the paper. Ask questions such as “Which states have a high or low pressure area?” or “Where are the highest or lowest temperatures expected in the United States?” Ask your child to find states that have rain or snow in the forecast. Think of other weather-related questions to ask your child.

• Ads: Talk about the classified advertisement section of the paper. Ask your child to find an ad for a pet, car, house etc. Talk about what must be included in an advertisement. Let your child design an ad for something he or she would like to buy or sell.

• The Five W’s and H: Teach your child to look for the who, what, when, where, why and how in each news article. Let your child select a topic and write a news article incorporating the “five w’s and h.”

Have some family fun while reading the newspaper together!

For more information, call your local county extension office at 453-6803.

Jennifer Russell is the county coordinator and a child and family development Extension agent for the Washington County MSU Extension Service Office in Greenville. You may contact her at 662-334-2669 or jtb20@msstate.edu.

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