Last Updated: Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Newspaper articles – second level

What is this?

These ideas will support you to design an activity which helps children to compare newspaper articles.  This develops their skills in understanding the ways in which information is presented from different points of view. This learning activity is based on second level experiences and outcomes.

You can use or adapt these for children in your class while they are working remotely. When designing learning activities, think about the range of learners in your class and their individual circumstances.

Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) experiences and outcomes: Second level

  • I regularly select and read, listen to or watch texts which I enjoy and find interesting, and I can explain why I prefer certain texts and authors. (LIT 1-11a / LIT 2-11a)
  • Through developing my knowledge of context clues, punctuation, grammar and layout, I can read unfamiliar texts with increasing fluency, understanding and expression. (ENG 2-12a / ENG 3-12a / ENG 4-12a)
  • Using what I know about the features of different types of texts, I can find, select and sort information from a variety of sources and use this for different purposes. (LIT 2-14a)
  • I can make notes, organise them under suitable headings and use them to understand information, develop my thinking, explore problems and create new texts, using my own words as appropriate. (LIT 2-15a)
  • To show my understanding across different areas of learning, I can identify and consider the purpose and main ideas of a text and use supporting detail. (LIT 2-16a)
  • To help me develop an informed view, I can identify and explain the difference between fact and opinion, recognise when I am being influenced, and have assessed how useful and believable my sources are. (LIT 2-18a)

Purpose of the activity

At first level, children learned about the key features of non-fiction texts. They learned how to identify the main ideas and to distinguish fact from opinion.

This activity builds on this learning and supports children to explore the features of newspaper articles and recognise different points of view and possible bias.

Learning activity

Using whichever method you use to share home learning activities with the children in your class, consider the following;

  • Ask the children to look at different newspapers that are available. Many newspapers provide online editions if hard copies are not available.
  • Discuss with them some of the key features. For example:
    • Headline
    • Main Body
    • Sub-headings
    • Layout
    • Quotes
    • Photographs
    • Captions
  • Introduce the children to the terms broadsheet and tabloid and explain to the children that different newspapers write articles in different ways to suit their readership.
  • Provide the children with a number of articles and headlines about a current story and ask them to identify the differences between them. Ask the children to consider the following points:
    • Importance of the article – where does it appear in the paper?
    • Length of the article – does one newspaper dedicate more words to the article?
    • Use of photographs – what are the differences?
    • Captions – how does the caption convey the purpose of the photo? Does it try to influence the reader?
    • Headlines – does one paper have a more serious tone than the other?
    • What other differences they notice in terms of style and tone of the article.
  • Ask the children to consider why the newspaper articles are different. Explore this in terms of the readership.
  • Support the children to identify the facts and opinions in each article – the children could make notes if this would support them to organise their thoughts.
  • Support the children to understand how facts are used differently to expand the story in each newspaper?
  • Ask the children to see if there are any differences in the opinions in each newspaper?
  • Ask the children to think of the points of view from each article in light of the facts and opinions they have explored. Does one article have a different slant from the other? Why would this be? Do the children think one article is trying to influence the reader to a viewpoint more than the other?
  • The children could now think about their own viewpoint having read the articles. Which do they agree with more and why?

Extension activity

  • Depending on the age and stage of the children you may consider extending the task by asking the children to re-write the article from their own point of view.

National Benchmarks

Depending on the age and stage of the children and taking account of their prior learning, children will be working towards these benchmarks by the end of second level.

  • Distinguishes between fact and opinion with appropriate explanation.
  • Recognises techniques used to influence the reader, for example, word choice, emotive language, rhetorical questions and/or repetition.
  • Finds, selects and sorts relevant information from a range of sources.
  • Makes and organises notes using own words, for the most part.
  • Identifies which sources are most useful/reliable.

Possible approach to assessing learning

Receiving examples of learning at home from children will help you understand how they are managing the tasks you have set and provide some feedback.

Using whichever approaches your school uses to communicate with parents, some of the following may be useful in supporting you to assess and celebrate children’s progress:

  • Can the children identify the differing viewpoints in the articles? Can they offer an explanation as to why this would be?
  • Can the children differentiate between fact and opinion
  • Can the children identify techniques used to influence the reader in each article?
Resource subject Literacy and English
Resource type Learning activity
Resource format Webpage