Student reporters learn Texas history with NIE

June 11, 2014

Nancy Pricer

Hood County News

Students from Kim Rains’ fourth-grade class at Oak Woods recently learned a little Texas history by visiting historic locations in Hood County through a new Newspapers in Education (NIE) program at the Hood County News.

The program, Texas History on the Road, is an extension of the award-winning Road Scholar program created by the Hood County News seven years ago.

The students are called HCN Road Reporters and took their “Road Scholar,” Leonard the Longhorn or Allie the Armadillo, with them to the historic locations.

They learned the history of the location, had a photo taken of them with their Road Scholar and wrote about their experience to be printed in the Hood County News.

“The Road Scholar program has several benefits to students,” said Rains. “The excitement of knowing that their picture and story will be printed in the paper engages the students immediately.

“The program allows the students to use research skills to learn about the historic site they are writing about.

“The students learn about writing an article for the paper and the importance of considering how the audience will understand their writing.

“And a very important lesson my students learned this year was to double check their resources to make sure that their facts were true.”

Parents of the students see the benefits of the program too.

Cindy Skaggs, whose daughter Scout visited the old Hood County Jail on Crockett Street, said, “She researched the historic site and then actually visited to see all that she had read and written about.

“The research piqued her interest making the visit all the more worthwhile.

“Then writing the story about the site gave her an opportunity to tell others what she had learned.

“Seeing the article in the paper will give her a real sense of accomplishment!”

Another parent, Shanie Langer, expressed the same feelings about the program. Her daughter Kaylee visited the Bowden-Kennon house on Doyle Street.

“I love the Road Scholar program because it teaches my child and others about the wonderful history of Granbury and other places,” she said.

“It also stimulates my child to ask questions and become interested in the history of our nation’s historic places.

“The Road Scholar program is a very positive program, which is fun for the kids, and they’re learning without even realizing it. To them it’s just fun.”

During the school year, the Hood County News provides over 1,350 free newspapers each Wednesday during the school year to 11 campuses and 46 classrooms as part of the NIE program.

Hood County News NIE coordinator Martha Pyron said students learn lessons in the core areas of science, geography, math and language arts.

“They gain an aspect of science by learning about the habitat of the stuffed animal that is their Road Scholar,” Pyron said.

“By tracking their travels on a map provided with the Road Scholar, the students accomplish a geography lesson.

“They utilize math skills in computing the number of miles they have traveled, and finally, they use their language arts skills when they write the article for the paper.”

According to the Newspaper Association of American Foundation, research has shown that students who use newspapers in class scored better on standardized reading tests than those who had not.

Research also showed that minority students and those who were not native English speakers showed the greatest achievement.

“The NIE program is open to all grade levels, and there is a curriculum all the way through college,” Pyron said.

For more information on the program contact Pyron at 817-573-7066 or [email protected]

[email protected] | 817-573-7066, ext. 257

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Category: Education