"We think it's a good idea for children to learn about the world from mediums other than basic school materials," says West Jordan Elementary School Principal Richard Allred.
The students and teachers at his school participated Wednesday in Deseret News' annual No Books Day program along with more than 47,000 students throughout the state who put aside their books and used the newspaper as their text. Tuesday's newspaper contained a special educational section called "Land, Air and Water," designed for use in the classrooms.Fourth-grade teachers at West Jordan dipped into the newspaper and instructed children in finding "Utah" words to aid in learning about the state. Teacher Laura Ward supervised creating a class poster, where students placed words found in the newspaper to fill columns labeled, "feelings," "proper nouns," "descriptive words," and "action words." Student Paul Olsen, whose clipping from the newspaper was "Karl Malone," says, "I like just about everything in the newspaper. I really like all the stuff about war. I read the Deseret News at home, too."
Teacher Dan Checketts likes using the Deseret News as a change of pace from his routine. He assigned his class to locate a job in the want-ads that they thought he would like if he weren't a teacher. Students Troy Hunt, Bryce Hummel and Dustin Riggs were trying to persuade Checketts to become a home decorator. Sarah Mertin wanted him to be an electronics worker because "he likes computers so much."
Students in Karen Conder's class were on the floor with their newspapers reading about the weather on the weather map, discovering highs and lows for the day. Josh Nielsen says he likes reading about what's going on in Utah. "I like the newspaper because it's better than books." Ryan Spencer likes the newspaper but adds that it "really gets your hands black."
Teacher Jon Jensen instructed his class in math activities, allowing students to use calculators. He said that "No Books Day is fun and exciting. Kids can have reinforcement of basic math and higher learning skills by tying into the newspaper." Fourth-grader Nathan Seim was intent on finding out athletes' percentages, explaining he likes the Jazz and the Celtics the best. Jayne Park was exploring the movie section of the paper, trying to find out how much it would cost to go the local movie theater and what would be playing at different times. "I like the newspaper," said Jayne, "and my grandma loves it."
Down the hall in the first-grade classrooms, teachers Pam Turpin, Jodie Crowder and Debbie Snow were the first to admit that their students "go crazy" with the newspaper because they find out they really can read the same things their parents read.
Student Scott Cunningham found the word "gulf" and was proud to be able to read it by himself. Mike Kent kept busy writing a paragraph about having fun on No Books Day.
Patrick Payne was involved with a picture of President Bush and information about the American troops coming home soon from the Mideast, and first-grader Tyler Nunley summed it all up when he said, "I like not reading books today. The newspaper is FUN!"