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What's News?

What's new today really began in the past. Discussing the news is a way to help your child gain a historical perspective on the events of the present.

What you'll need:
Daily or Sunday newspaper
Weekly news magazine
A daily national news program
History log

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What to do:

  1. Decide on how often you will do this activity with your children--current events happen every day. This activity can be most useful to younger children if it is done from time to time to get them used to the idea of "news". Older children benefit from doing it more often, at least once a week if possible.

  2. Look through the newspaper or news magazine with your child. Ask him to decide what pictures or headlines are related to history. Highlight these references. Some examples are the Yalta Treaty, the French Revolution, Lenin, Pearl Harbor, or Brown v. Board of Education.

  3. Together read the articles you have chosen. Write down any references to events that did not happen today or yesterday, or to people who were not alive recently.

  4. Have a conversation with your child about what these past events and people have to do with what's happening today. Help your child write in the history log the connections you find between past and present.

  5. Watch the evening news or a morning news program together. Write down as many references as possible to past history and discuss the links you find between these references and the news story you heard.

  6. During another viewing, help your child focus on how the information was communicated: did the newscaster use interviews, books, historical records, written historical accounts, literature, paintings, photographs?

  7. Help your child compare several accounts of a major news story from different news shows, newspapers, and news magazines.

Questions to ask:
"There is nothing new under the sun,"
according to an old saying. Did you find anything "new" in the news? What "same old stories" did you find?

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