It’s is the contraction for it is. Its is a possessive pronoun. For example: It’s cold outside today! The dog chased its tail. Find examples in USA TODAY of the words it’s and its used in sentences. Then, create five descriptive sentences using it’s and five using its.
Do you know the difference between the words to, too and two? To indicates a function or action (e.g., Give the apple to me; I am going to her house.); too means also or in addition; two is one more than one. Highlight sentences in today’s paper with the words to, too and two in them.
Sometimes, writers confuse the words accept and except. Accept means to receive. Except means to leave out or take out. For example: Karen will accept the award for best speller. Everyone went to the dance except Mike. Create 10 sentences about today’s news — five that use the word accept and five that use except.
Newspapers are full of symbols — objects or signs that represent something else. For example: $ means dollar(s); % means percent; & means and, etc. Find 15 symbols in today’s paper. Next to each symbol, write the word or phrase that it represents.
A compound word is one that consists of two words joined together. For example, everyone (every + one) and basketball (basket + ball) are compound words. Choose an article in USA TODAY and circle or highlight all the compound words that you can find. Use a dictionary to define any unfamiliar words.
Look through USA TODAY and cut out three words (with at least four letters) that begin with the letter B, three that begin with the letter D, and three that begin with the letter P. Arrange the words in alphabetical order, and paste them onto a sheet of paper.
Because of space limitations, headlines are often phrases and not complete sentences. Write down some headlines in today’s paper, and determine whether or not each is a complete sentence. If the headline is a phrase, what words would you need to add to make it a complete sentence?
Action verbs, as their name suggests, describe the actions of the subject of a sentence. For example: Michael dribbled the ball; Kyle won the race; Michelle landed a triple axle. Cut out five photos from today’s Sports section. Then, list three action verbs that describe what is happening in each photo.
A statement ends in a period, a question in a question mark and an exclamation with an exclamation point. Find five statements in today’s paper and turn each into a question. Then, change each statement to an exclamation and read it aloud. How does your voice change when reading an exclamation?
Did you know that it is possible to rearrange the letters in one word to make another? For example, using the letters in the word height, you can make the words get, tie, etc.; from the word capital, you can make pail, tap, etc. Find five words in headlines in today’s paper, and see how many new words you can make.
What’s the shortest sentence you can find in today’s paper? The longest? What is the subject of each sentence? The verb (the action or linking word that explains what the subject is doing)? Now, write two very short and two very long sentences about yourself.
Write a note to your mom or dad about an article in today’s paper. Explain why she or he should read the story. Then, compose a question about the article that you would like your parent to answer. Give your note and the article to your mom or dad.
Read interesting headlines, captions and excerpts from stories in today’s paper. Circle all the capital letters you see. Then, describe the situations in which capital letters should be used. Write down these rules for your reference.
A sentence lets you know when events are happening through the tense of its verb (action or linking word). For example: I eat a sandwich is in the present tense; I ate a sandwich is in the past tense; I will eat a sandwich is in the future tense. Find five examples of each tense in today’s paper.
Look through today’s paper, and circle all the different types of punctuation that you encounter: for example, commas, periods, quotation marks, colons, etc. In writing, explain the function of each punctuation mark. Then, compose a short article using all the types of punctuation you found.
Copy down four headlines — one from each section — on a sheet of paper. In each headline, misspell one word, or change a punctuation mark or capital letter. Ask a partner to underline the word that he or she thinks contains the mistake. Then, have her or him compare the original headline to yours.
A noun represents a person, place or thing. Label three sheets of paper “people,” places” and “things.” Look through USA TODAY, and cut out five pictures with people in them, five pictures about places, and five about things. Paste each picture on the correct sheet of paper, and label each item.
Pronouns are words that are used in place of nouns — and they are everywhere in the newspaper! Simple pronouns include I, you, he, she, it, we and they. For example: Jose says he likes to read. Angela believes she will be president, etc. Look through USA TODAY, and circle as many simple pronouns as you can find.
Look through USA TODAY and cut out 20 words (with at least four letters) from different headlines in today’s paper. Then, arrange the words in alphabetical order and paste them onto a sheet of paper. Discuss why it is important to learn how to alphabetize. When do people use this skill?
Synonyms are words that have similar meanings. For example, “big” is a synonym for “large.” Read aloud an article in today’s paper, and write down three words that you recognize and three that are new to you. Then, find synonyms for all six words.
In general, the plurals of words ending in o preceded by a vowel are formed by adding s. The plurals of words ending in o preceded by a consonant are formed by adding es. For example, radio, radios; studio, studios; echo, echoes; tomato, tomatoes. Find examples of words in USA TODAY that end in o and create new sentences using the plural form.
The plurals of common words ending in y preceded by a consonant are formed bychanging the y to i and addinges. The plurals of words ending in y preceded by a vowel are formed by simply adding s. For example: fly, flies; marry, marries; key, keys. Find words in USA TODAY that end in y and change them into their plural forms.
Find three adjectives (descriptive words) in today’s paper. Then, identify one synonym (a word with a similar meaning) and one antonym (a word with the opposite meaning) for each. Draw a sketch of each synonym/antonym pair. See if a peer can guess what the original word was.
Select an interesting article in today’s paper. Next, rewrite the first one or two paragraphs of the story on note cards or paper. Simplify any unknown words or phrases. Then, practice reading the excerpt as if it were a speech. Make eye contact and speak loudly and clearly.
Homophones are two words that sound alike, but are not spelled the same and have different meanings. For example: fair and fare; piece and peace; two, to and too, etc. Look through USA TODAY and find as many homophones as you can. Jot down each word and its definition.
A simile uses like or as to compare two unlike things. For example, she eats like a bird; he is as big as a horse. Look through USA TODAY, and find examples of similes used in articles or advertisements. First, identify whether like or as is used, and then circle the items being compared.
Identify three sports that you enjoy. Then, find an article about one of those activities in today’s Sports section. Before reading the story, compile a list of questions about the sport that you would like answered. Read the article and look for answers to your queries. Then, list three other sources you could consult for information on the sport.
The root of a word is the core word from which other words can be made. For example, the root word of playful is play; the root word of unhappiness is happy; of globally, globe, etc. Look over the front page of today’s paper, and circle as many root words
as you can find. Try making new words from each root.
A prefix is a group of letters that is added to the beginning of one word in order to form a different word. For example, bi can be added to cycle to make the word bicycle; pre can be added to view to make preview; para can be added to chute to make parachute, etc. Find prefixes in USA TODAY, and make three different words with each.
A suffix is a group of letters attached to the end of a word to form another word. For example, ly can be added to clear to make the word clearly; able can be added to agree to make agreeable; less can be added to help to make helpless, etc. Find five suffixes in USA TODAY, and make three different words with each.
Syllables are units of uninterrupted language that form sounds which in turn form words. Some words, like dog, are monosyllabic (one syllable) while others, like puppy, are multisyllabic (made up of two or more syllables). Choose 10 words in today’s paper, and divide each into its syllables. Use a dictionary to check your work.
Cut out many different words from headlines in today’s paper. Arrange some or all of the words into a poem. (It doesn’t need to rhyme!) Paste the poem on paper and draw an illustration to go with your work.
Exaggeration or hyperbole is the overstating or stretching of the truth for effect. For example, “My shoes are killing me.” Hyperbole is not appropriate in journalism, but is commonly found in editorials and political cartoons. Find an example of hyperbole in today’s paper.
Headlines are titles for articles that appear in newspapers. Cut out 10 headlines and the first two paragraphs of the articles they accompany in today’s paper. Put the headlines in one envelope and the stories in another. Have a partner try to match each headline with the correct article.
A sentence is a group of words that expresses a complete thought. The subject of a sentence is its main topic — the who or what that the rest of the sentence describes. For example: The Emmy Awards were held Sunday night. A marathon is 26 miles. Read sentences from different sections of today’s paper, and highlight the subject of each.
An action verb is often followed by a direct object — a word that receives the action. For example: Dad drove the car. The dog ate its food. Find four sentences — one from each section of the paper – that contain direct objects. Then, practice changing the direct object of each sentence to a different word.
Your is a possessive pronoun. You’re is the contraction for you are. For example. Is this your jacket? You’re supposed to bring two pencils with you to class today. Find 10 examples of your and you’re in today’s paper. Write the sentences out on a sheet of paper.
Do you know the difference between the words leave and let? Leave means to allow something to remain behind; let means to permit. For example: Lisa wanted to leave her homework at school; Ms. Smith wouldn’t let her. Create 10 sentences using the words leave and let based on an article in today’s paper.
An adjective is a word that describes or modifies a noun or pronoun. For example, in the sentence, “ Alice is a smart girl,” the word smart is the adjective being used to describe the girl, a noun. Choose a paragraph in USA TODAY, and pick out the adjectives and the nouns they modify in each sentence.
Modifiers are words or groups of words that describe simple subjects and predicates. For example: That huge building is new. She skated quickly. Look at 10 photos in today’s paper and think of a word that describes the subject and/or action depicted in each.
Every sentence has a subject and a predicate. The predicate makes a statement about the subject, e.g. George W. Bush is president. Dogs love to run and play. Write a new, one-sentence caption for four pictures in today’s paper. Then, underline the predicate in each sentence
The simple predicate of a sentence is also called the verb. Verbs are words or groups of words that convey action or link the subject to a description (e.g., She plays soccer; I am tall.). Find five action and five linking verbs in today’s paper. Record each under the appropriate heading.
The Money section of USA TODAY contains information on economic and financial issues. Identify five words or phrases in the Money section with which you are unfamiliar. Using the context of the sentence or article, define each word or term. If necessary, consult a dictionary for additional help.
The Sports section of USA TODAY is full of action verbs. For example: run, block, punt, tackle, pass, skate, throw, dive, etc. Find one article about a sport that you enjoy. Circle or highlight all of the actions verbs you can find. Trade articles with a partner and circle any action verbs she or he overlooked.
Action words are verbs, such as jump, run and fly, that describe what the noun in the sentence is doing. For example, “The dog jumped over the fence.” Dog is the noun in the sentence; jumped the action verb. Look for action verbs in today’s Sports section. Use a marker to underline or highlight each.
Select three headlines that interest you. Define any new or unusual words used in them Then, locate the main verb in each headline. Finally, make yourself the subject of each of the verbs, and create three new headlines.
Cut out a picture of a person in today’s paper. Then, write a diary entry as if you were that person. Make sure you mention details from the photo in your entry. Share your composition with peers. Explain what elements of the photo inspired you.
Reading the newspaper is a great way to learn new words. Select an article in today’s paper. As you read the article, write down five words with which you are unfamiliar. Try to guess what each means. Then, verify your guesses by looking the words up in the dictionary.
The verb affect means “to influence.” For example, How does smoking affect a person’s health? The nouneffect means “result” — as in, Smoking has a negative effect on your health. Find an example of affect and effect in today’s paper. Then, use both words in a paragraph that summarizes a top news story.
Select a photograph in USA TODAY that features a person you recognize. In writing, describe what you already know about the person pictured. Next, jot down two questions that you have about the individual. Finally, choose and consult an appropriate resource, and answer your questions.
Copy an intriguing headline from today’s paper. Then, write a story that begins with that phrase or sentence. After 10 minutes, trade work with a partner and continue writing his or her story for 10 more minutes. Together, choose one of the stories, and collaborate on an ending. Finally, edit your work and share it with the class.
Writers use both figurative and literal language. Words used figuratively represent something beyond their literal meanings. For example: “My love is like a red, red rose.” Words used literally reflect their dictionary definitions, as in: Red roses grow in my garden. Find an example of figurative language in today’s paper. Then, write a sentence in which the words involved are used literally.
Read an article that interests you in today’s paper. Next, rewrite the story as a poem, rap or skit. Decide which information in the article is most important, and find a creative way to include these facts in your work. After, discuss how a journalist’s writing style differs from a poet’s, lyricist’s and playwright’s.
Assonance is the repetition of similar vowel sounds in a sentence or phrase. For example: Laws uit sh oots for r ule compliance. R eal p eople r eap benefits of new health care law. Poets, speech and headline writers and others use assonance to make their works sound pleasing. Find at least three examples of assonance in today’s paper.
A haiku is a Japanese poem that has three lines and doesn’t rhyme. The first line has five syllables; the second, seven; and the third, five. Peruse today’s paper for an article that interests you. Then, write a haiku inspired by the story.
The term onomatopoeia refers to words that are vocal imitations of the sounds associated with them. For example, hiss, buzz, slurp, gust, swoosh, etc. In other words, the pronunciation of the word suggests its meaning. Find five words in USA TODAY that exhibit this quality, and define them without using the word.
In English, there are many different ways to express the same idea. Words that are similar in meaning are called synonyms. Look through the headlines in today’s Sports section for verbs that mean beat (as in win). For example: Patriots pound Steelers; Angels defeat A’s. Underline at least 10 synonyms.
Newspapers are full of words that are opposite in meaning. Opposites are also referred to as antonyms. Look through USA TODAY, and circle 10 words. Then, find the opposite of that word somewhere else in the paper. For example, up and down; stop and go; day and night; happy and sad, etc.
A story’s point of view is the perspective from which it is told. A story in the first-person uses the pronoun I, as in “ I woke up and fixed myself breakfast.” If a story is in the third-person, an outsider is telling it. For example, “ He flew a kite with his brother.” Find stories in today’s paper that are written from each perspective.
Write the letters k, w and l across the top of a piece of paper. Then, read the Newsline summaries on 1A, and choose one item you find interesting. Next, jot down what you k now and w ant to know about the topic. Then, read the article inside the paper and record what you l earned.
Study today’s the Weather page. Next, create a mock TV weathercast that details temperatures in your area and predicts what the weather will be like in the next few days. Write a brief script and rehearse. Then, perform your script for peers.
After reading a newspaper article (or a short story, book, etc.), the reader should be left with an overall impression of the work. This is known as the total effect. Read three articles in today’s paper and describe in writing, the total effect that each story had on you.
The process of choosing the right words and the way they are ordered is called a writing style. Read through USA TODAY, and identify different styles used by reporters in hard news articles, features and editorials. Describe how the writing styles differ based on the subject matter.
One way writers make headlines interesting is by using a technique called alliteration. This is when multiple words begin with the same sound, like “ Community crisis continues.” Look through the headlines in today’s paper, and see if you can find examples of alliteration.
An abbreviation is a shortened form of a written word or phrase. For example: amt. is the abbreviation for amount; etc. is the abbreviation for etcetera. Read through USA TODAY and find at least 10 abbreviations. Write each one down. Next to it, write the word that it stands for