Something to believe in

Emily Bialkowski

Managing Editor

This week, March 4 through 9, newspapers across the country are celebrating Newspapers In Education Week, or NIE. I know, I know. Every industry and its brother has a week to celebrate something. Even the hot dog gets a week in July. But  NIE actually makes a difference – in schools, for teachers and for students.

NIE is a program newspapers choose to facilitate in their community. The newspaper goes out to the schools and asks if teachers would like to use the paper once a week as part of their curriculum during the school year. If a teacher feels the paper has an educational purpose in their classroom, newspaper staff then go out to sell sponsorships to get copies to the classroom. Every school in this community, including the two parochial schools, sent us a loud message at the beginning of the school year that, yes, they definitely could use the added curriculum in their classrooms.

So how does NIE work?

On the newsstand residents pay $1 for a copy of the Argus. Sponsors of NIE get the paper at cost. Their contribution is recognized with an advertisement in the newspaper. The sponsor gets an ad, the schools and kids get copies of the paper, and the paper, well, we sell the sponsorships.

How do the teachers use the newspaper in the classroom, you may ask, and what could a newspaper possibly teach a middleschooler or highschooler?

Well, according to Caledonia Middle School reading instructor Barb Rollins, “Reading the newspaper as part of the reading curriculum supports a variety of reading-related skills. Students are given time to self-select articles of interest and read independently. During independent and whole-class oral reading time, students encounter new vocabulary, make inferences, process cause/effect and fact/opinion statements.”

I don’t want to take away too much of Barb’s thunder because you can read her entire explanation on this page. The point is: Newspapers provide a real-life teaching tool for teachers who are constantly bombarded by funding cuts. With NIE the newspaper and the sponsors step in and say, “We want to give this to you to use as you see fit for free!”

But don’t just take my word for it. In the following pages you’ll find a snapshot of the dozens and dozens of essays and letters The Caledonia Argus received thanking the sponsors for providing this tool. NIE makes a difference in schools and I believe in the program. Perhaps after reading the student essays you’ll believe in it, too. If so, please contact The Caledonia Argus at 507-724-3475 and say you’d like to be an NIE sponsor. The cost is just $35 a week, and we  have yet to secure enough sponsors to cover the school year.


You can contact Emily Bialkowski at [email protected]