Fifth-grade reading levels are not high enough to completely comprehend a newspaper, yet students have thoroughly enjoyed and been able to learn from USA TODAY. By the end of the year they are comfortable using the paper and look forward each week to having their own copy.
I have a math activity where we look for fractions, percentages, whole numbers and statistics in articles. Students cut out graphs found in USA TODAY, write a summary paragraph and then display it all on a chart.
We have a set of over forty reading and phonics activities that require cutting-edge examples from a newspaper. I use USA TODAY to illustrate or write about phonetic and structural analysis. With a partner or individually, students practice the skill of skimming and choosing a favorite article, summarizing it on a 3 x 5 card, and then giving an oral report to the entire class. This is a favorite activity of my students, and many of them end up discussing the articles at home with their parents.
I have used USA TODAY for many years. It is colorful and easy to use with children. Having a copy for each child really makes a difference.