Thousands of students from 407 Utah schools shelved their textbooks Wednesday and exclusively used the Deseret News for their studies during the 15th annual No Books Day.
The event was sponsored by the Deseret News in conjunction with national Newspaper in Education Month. It placed more than 64,000 newspapers in the hands of Utah students, representing all 40 school districts in the state.Newspapers are also being used in many private, parochial and home schools, along with college students at Southern Utah State University. Some additional schools have elected to celebrate No Books Day at a later date.
This year classrooms also received special information about brain research and its impact on learning to help educators teach out of the newspaper.
The goal of the program is to introduce students to newspapers and to help bring relevancy to lessons learned in the classroom, according to Carolyn Dickson, manager of the Deseret News' Newspaper in Education department.
One of the 400 No Books Day schools was Washington Elementary, 420 N. 200 West, in the Salt Lake City School District.
Even before 9 a.m., the sound of rustling newspapers filled the school.
At Scott Smith's fifth-grade class, 22 students were reading through the Deseret News' Tuesday issue to find a favorite article to use in reports to the class.
Jenny Gagon, a student teacher from the University of Utah, was directing Smith's class for the first few hours of the day. She asked the students to not only report on the facts of a story but also to explain what changes they might make in the story, if they had been the reporter.
Surprisingly, no students were stuck on the comics pages. They were all diligently searching for stories.
"I think it's pretty good," student Jeanette Bruska said. "It teaches about what's happening."
Corey Swanigan loves basketball. His Junior Jazz team recently won its championship, and he was busy scanning the basketball scores to do his report on what happened in the NBA."I follow the Jazz," he said.
John Aird admitted he doesn't read the newspaper much at home, except to scan the movie listings, being a Star Wars fan. Still, he said he liked this temporary switch from books.
Just next door in Cathy Brennan's fifth-grade class, students were asked to clip out certain sections of the newspaper so they had an overview of what regular features it contains.
With scissors in hands, students were clipping everything from comic strips to news and sports stories to classified ads.
"I like this better than books," student Jordan Carr said. "It's pretty neat."
Melissa Torrey also said she was having fun with the newspaper. She likes hockey and planned on reading up on the Grizzlies.
Brennan said the reaction of her students to the No Books Day was very positive. This was her first time with a No Books Day and her only regret was that she didn't spend more time on preparing for the special newspaper day.