Parents, if you come home from work and can't find the newspaper, check your children's rooms. You may find one of them sprawled out on the floor reading about Karl Malone.
Thanks to No Books Day, sponsored by the Deseret News Newspaper in Education Department, hundreds of Utah County students now appreciate the information they can get from a newspaper.Rather than using books, many schools Wednesday used Tuesday's edition of the Deseret News for all class instruction - their students joining more than 47,000 throughout the state who participated in the activity.
Most principals, teachers and students found the change exciting.
"It's something new and something different, and that's motivation for the students," said Sterling Argyle, principal at Larsen Elementary School in Spanish Fork.
"Books are sometimes routine. Anytime we can bring some new interest and spark into class then the students respond," said Karen Anderson, a first-grade teacher at the school.
At Larsen, every teacher used a newspaper Wednesday to teach class. The school has 640 students and those students used 570 newspapers. To learn how to implement the newspaper into classroom instruction, Larsen's teachers attended a workshop.
Teachers used a variety of techniques to familiarize students with the newspaper's different sections. Some had scavenger hunts, some had students do car comparisons, some had students write a story from a photograph and some had students use the weather map to predict this week's weather.
"I think a lot of kids are intimidated by the newspaper because it is something that dad reads. If we can get children to read the paper then they are one step up on a lot of people," fourth-grade teacher Becky McDougal said.
Argyle said the teaching methods used on No Books Day are designed to teach students how to use their reading skills, their thinking skills and their communication skills.
"The teachers apply to the newspaper the things that the kids have been taught in their regular reading classes," Argyle said. "The noise you hear coming from those classrooms is good educational noise. The students are exchanging ideas and are learning to use their communication skills."
Students at Larsen were most interested in the sports page and the comic section. Some liked looking at the different photographs and some enjoyed reading the classified advertisements.
"I like to read about Karl Malone," said fourth-grader Tyler Olson.
"It sure beats working in our books," said fourth-grader Andy Dixon. "And it gives us new information about the world."
Argyle said he believes newspapers play an important role in educating the public. He hopes Wednesday's class work will encourage students to read the newspaper more.
"We've got to get more newspapers in the home. I just don't think kids are learning enough about what's going on in the world," he said.