Erin O'Donnell
  This is the first lesson in a three-part unit consisting of: (1) Understanding the news (2) Writing an article for a class newsletter (3) Proofreading and revising articles for a class newsletter

  Adult basic education, Critical thinking, Employability, General education development (GED), Job skills, Listening skills, Reading comprehension

Learner Level:
  ABE to post high school

Time Frame:
  1 Hour

Learner Grouping:
  Small group

  Volunteers in an adult learning center wish to produce a business newsletter.

  Not available

  Frankfort/Franklin County Community Education

Type of Program:

Student Population Served:
  Basic skills (grade levels 5-8.9)

Understanding the news

Students learn to identify types of news stories by reading newsletters and newspapers. They will be able to categorize stories by type. __________________________________________________________

Learning Objective:
Learners will be able to identify the following categories of news articles: hard news, features, announcements, and opinion/personal reflection.

Primary Skill:
Read with understanding

Secondary Skills:
Reflect and evaluate

Learner Needs & Goals:
Learners need to identify types of newspaper and newsletter articles in order to understand the news.

Learning Activity Description:
1. Using a flip chart or chalk/dry erase board, list the following types of news stories with their definitions:

  • Hard news - factual news stories without an opinion
  • Features - articles without hard news value that have a personal focus
  • Announcements - one or two sentences that have information about an event or service
  • Opinion/personal reflection - an article that expresses the opinion of the writer or the collective opinion of a group

2. Divide the class into teams. Distribute one newsletter or newspaper to each team. Discuss the different types of stories. Ask the group as a whole to identify stories that fit the categories. List them on the chart or board next to the appropriate type.

3. Divide the class into pairs. Distribute (1) a handout that lists and defines the types of news stories and (2) copies of one newspaper and two newsletters. Ask each pair to identify at least two examples of the types of stories and list the headline or title on their handout under the appropriate type. Allow students to keep the publications to read later.

4. Tell learners that they will create a newsletter. Discuss what is news. Brainstorm stories to include in the newsletter. Make a list of ideas. Ask students to think about which one they would like to write. During the next session the group will make assignments.

Materials and Resources:

  • A local newspaper
  • Examples of company or agency newsletters
  • A flip chart or chalk/dry erase board



    Monitor the discussions in order to determine whether:
  • Learners can identify fact and opinion
  • Learners can categorize hard news, features, announcements, and opinion/personal reflection articles
  • Learners can suggest articles to write for a class newsletter

I would have learners identify the main idea in the articles.


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