I use USA TODAY to improve reading comprehension and writing skills. In a speed-reading activity, I give students two minutes to scan the entire paper for an article that interests them. Then I give the students five minutes to read the article theyve selected and another three minutes to write a summary or interpretation of the article that theyll share with their peers, in small groups or with the class.
Other times I give students a list of names of people in that days news. From that list, I have the students choose the people they view as important, and then we discuss what characteristics make that person important. We recently discussed the conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. We discussed why King remains an important figure, and which conspiracy theories are plausible.
I also have students make up their own quiz questions. From these, I compile a quiz that I give to them. The most valuable aspect of the USA TODAY is that it is a hands-on learning tool. Its something that belongs to the students, something that they can make marks on and use as their own, just like in college.