Newspapers in Education helps students become informed citizens

46

This month marks the SUN’s 114th year of documenting the history of Archuleta County and informing citizens through journalism.

This month is also the month that The Pagosa Springs SUN joins forces with 33 Colorado newsrooms to amplify the impact of local journalism — not just in our newsroom, but in communities across our state — thanks to the generosity of the Colorado Media Project and its matching gift campaign. 

Collectively, our work is essential to a better-informed community and a healthy democracy. But it would not be possible without the support of readers like you. 

Through Dec. 31, the Colorado Media Project will match your contribution to The SUN up to $1,000. The SUN’s goal is to use this funding to continue the Newspapers in Education program that we launched in 2021.

Former U.S. history teacher Steven Long responded to the idea of introducing a Newspapers in Education program to his eighth-grade students at Pagosa Springs Middle School (PSMS): “I think studying current events is one of the most critical skills I can teach my students. There are so many valuable topics such as identifying bias, what is credible vs. what isn’t.”

Long’s next question was how do we get the program underway?

Students receive copies of the newspaper each week and SUN staff develops corresponding curriculum for the teachers’ use. We are excited to work with our local schools. The importance of local journalism during these uncertain times cannot be overstated — it’s what keeps our community informed and connected, day after day, and is a cornerstone of a healthy democracy.

PSMS Principal Chris Hinger wrote in an email to The SUN, “Thank you for providing these [newspapers].  We appreciate you partnering with us to provide the best education for our students.”

This year, Hinger is making the newspapers available in the school library for more students and teachers to access.

Newspapers in the classroom improve students’ reading achievement, retention and comprehension. In one study, reading skills increased by two grade levels for students who used the newspaper compared to students using traditional methods.

Teacher Scott White picks up papers designated for San Juan Mountain School every Thursday morning to use as a tool for his civics and government class.

Media literacy is more important now than ever to help students identify credible news sources. Using the newspaper as an educational resource helps students to develop a better understanding of local government.

The program links real-world experience to the classroom and encourages critical-thinking skills and lifelong reading habits. Newspapers contribute in enhancing literacy and help students become better consumers of the news.

“As a Place-Based PBL school, we love the way the newspaper can provide an opportunity for the students to keep up to date on things happening in our community,” Pagosa Peak Open School Director Angela Reali Crossland wrote. “The newspaper provides a great text for students to use during reading comprehension activities as it engages them in something that is relevant to them.”

Newspapers influence students’ attitudes toward reading and improves their competencies. Research shows that students who read the news perform higher on standardized tests and become more engaged in civics and volunteerism in their communities. Students who used newspapers as principal source material had better achievement scores in social studies, language arts and math than their counterparts.

We hope you will consider a contribution to help a teacher use newspapers in the classroom to better inform students about our community.

Please help us to continue the Newspapers in Education program in our local schools by sending a contribution to The Pagosa Springs SUN, Box 9, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147 or dropping off a check at our office at 457 Lewis St. between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday (we close for lunch from 12:15-1:15 p.m.).

You can also make your contribution online at https://tinyurl.com/mr69d6c2.

Contributions received before Dec. 31 will be matched up to $1,000 for a total of $5,000 in matching funds. 

Thank you in advance for your contribution. Your generous support for local journalism and strengthening the education of our youth through Newspapers in Education is greatly appreciated.

Terri Lynn Oldham House