Creating a class newsletter can be an excellent way for English language learners to develop their language skills. They build vocabulary through writing and through interacting with others in the class. In addition, research shows that through repeated revisions of their own writing, students learn to become better writers. But most important of all, students learn how to work cooperatively, and they soon realize that "it's easier to do stuff as a group than on their own" (Irby, p. 53). Students not only discover the benefits of teamwork, but they also feel a great sense of ownership once they see their end result - a newsletter. This is an excellent activity that allows students from different cultural backgrounds to find common ground and to work cooperatively. Yet as educators we must remember that the writing experience should be an empowering one instead of just another assignment students are told to do. The goal of creating a newsletter should be to bring the classroom together as ELLs learn how to better express themselves orally and polish their writing skills.
- Have students create a list of topics that they wish to write about in their newsletter.
- Allow students to work in collaborative groups.
- Assign students roles, for example "writer," "editor," "researcher," or "graphic artist."
- Encourage students to include articles in their primary language.
- Let students share their newsletter with other classrooms and with family members.
This Microsoft Word template, created by a class at The West School in Madison, CT, takes a unique approach to teaching students how to create a newsletter. It has a "click and change" format that gives instructions for creating each component of a newsletter while serving as a template that can be personalized with students' own stories and graphics. It is very easy to use, and the result looks professional!
This page, sponsored by the International Reading Association (IRA) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), is designed to help students create all types of newspapers, brochures, flyers, and booklets. There are many templates to choose from, as well as a variety of publishing tools to add interest to the final product.