Reviewed by Sholain Govender-Bateman – Pretoria-based New Media journalism lecturer, former The Star and Pretoria News journalist & editor of magazines. She is mum to two gorgeous girls, Isobel and Aishwari, and wife to Barry Bateman. Twitter @sholain
Durbanite, Duncan Guy has created an online kids newspaper that is suitable for any primary school child, locally and internationally called Learn the News.
My hubby and I are news people and we encourage our two girls to be aware of what’s happening in the world around them. I also know how careful we have to be about which news stories they are exposed to since headlines often contain news of violence and crime and other non-child friendly topics.
There have been more than a few times when I’ve had to change the radio/tv channel when listening to the news with my children. It is therefore wonderful to come across the Learn the News online publication which is a safe and clever news platform for children. When covering the story of Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai who was shot by the Taliban after fighting for girls rights to an education, the details of the shooting are left out but her activism is highlighted with facts about a trip she made to Syria.
I recommend it to anyone who wants their kids to increase their knowledge of news events both locally and internationally.
The publication has been around for the last decade and is now re-emerging in SA after building an international subscription base over the last few years including schools in Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore.
Guy spends hours putting together a very professional newspaper which includes stories with themes, worksheets, quizzes and even glossaries based on the big international stories for the week. Photos from Agence France-Presse add a real news feel to the publication which can be viewed digitally or printed out and Guy sources the news from wire services meaning that the content is factual and current.
The format of the paper is easy to read for primary school goers. The style of writing mimics the simplicity of readers that the children are already accustomed to from school. A recent edition contained a story about a dinosaur fossil found in Argentina and by including facts and diagrams, it became so much more interesting.
A recent edition contained a story about a dinosaur fossil found in Argentina and included facts and diagrams which capture the imagination and interest of young readers.
I think it’s a great way of introducing a news topic to children and if they are curious and want in-depth information on a news item, then their parent or teacher can help with that.
Suitable Age Group
Although my girls are not completely literate as yet, the short length of the stories and the other linked activities make this newspaper ideal for children from as young as 5 upwards. (And I honestly believe that a lot of adults would love this simplified version of the news too.)
Learn the News could be an excellent resource for primary school teachers who want to make their pupils more aware of the world around them. It also supplements history and geography learning. I think that many home schoolers would also find the newspaper invaluable as a supplementary teaching tool and reading material. Whilst the news stories do get old, the other facts and worksheets remain relevant and therefore, each edition can definitely be used more than once.
Learn The News costs R200 a year (for a maximum of 100 students) where the subscriber then receives an e-mailed PDF copy of the newspaper every Wednesday, as well as full access to the website and linked activities. As a bonus, the publication also invites readers to submit drawings that may be selected for use in future editions!