WOW! We receive the USA TODAY each Thursday. We always begin with the major headline on the front page and I ask why USA TODAY editors picked it. I have my middle school students read in depth one article of my choice and one of their selection. I also pick an article from each of the four sections to read aloud and discuss. It is amazing how kids in middle school enjoy reading aloud. There are often stumble and find words they do not know, so we always have a vocabulary lesson. I give a piece of candy to the one (or ones) who can relate definitions all the students can understand. One of our best activities is when students “pretend” they are the news reporter and give their opinion or a different point of view for a story. (Fact and opinion is really important in our testing each year. I try to make certain they know the difference and experience in their writing.) We also enjoy “around the world” where students have five to ten minutes to pick an article and read it- news must be from a country outside of the United States. Then we use a globe or world map to see how many places/ locations we have covered. Students are really aware this year of how many times those articles are about Iraq or Afghanistan. We are getting ready to write letters to our president after looking at articles about possible changes from our government. Students will chose one change and create a friendly letter about why they agree or disagree. Writing about an article always enables my middle students to get their ideas down on a piece of notebook paper after reading the related article in USA TODAY. Our “quick writes” are a weekly required activity made much more fun by using the newspaper.