Education news

Literacy critical for Young News Readers

Launching the Young News Readers critical media literacy project for 2019 are John Brolly, marketing manager of The Irish News, Annette Kelly of Little Penny Thoughts and Prof Peter Finn Principal of St Mary's University College Belfast

SCHOOLS are being invited to read newspapers as part of a successful critical literacy programme - this year featuring a special guest editor.

The award winning Irish News Critical Literacy Project brings an invigorating eight weeks of activities that offer a different way to challenge the knowledge and understanding of young readers.

It also introduces them to the wonderful world of newspapers in conjunction with The Irish News.

Children will receive a School Edition, which includes content from the previous seven days in The Irish News.

The news will be filtered to make it appropriate for a younger audience and ensure that pupils engage with and enjoy the project.

This year, the project will have a special guest editor - Annette Kelly from Little Penny Thoughts, which promotes positive mental health and holistic well-being.

The project, will launch in January 2020, is specifically designed to develop pupils' critical literacy skills and introduce them to the world of news.

Through reading The Irish News, thousands of school children have already improved their literacy.

"We know from feedback from schools that our primary and post-primary pupils are fascinated by the news, whether it is Trump's presidency, Brexit, climate change or sports coverage," said John Brolly, marketing manager of The Irish News.

"Our School Edition is a weekly 64 page newspaper, made up of content from the previous seven days in The Irish News. The content is edited and chosen to make it age appropriate for a younger audience to ensure that pupils engage with the project."

Teachers also receive a classroom resource booklet created by the head of literacy at St Mary's University College to guide them through the project and provide ideas for lessons.

"This year for the very first time we have introduced a special guest editor - Little Penny Thoughts," Mr Brolly added.

"LPT's Annette Kelly is a fully qualified teacher with a Bachelor of Education from St Mary's University College who now specialises in wellness workshops and guest speaking. We believe that Annette's strong passion for mental health and holistic wellbeing will deliver positive vibes to the School Edition of The Irish News."

Each week, pupils will have the opportunity to send in their own positive thoughts and a weekly winner - judged by Annette - will win a copy of Little Penny Thoughts' book. They will also get their positive thought published in The School Edition of The Irish News and posted on the school twitter account @irishnewsschools.

In addition, everyone that signs up to the Young News Readers project 2020 will be entered into a draw to win a Little Penny Thoughts workshop for their school.

:: For further information and to sign up, visit



YOUNG News Readers introduces schoolchildren to daily newspapers in an interactive way.

It delivers news knowledge and develops understanding in the classroom, while supporting the demands of the wider curriculum.

A rich learning resource, it encourages young readers in both primary and post-primary schools to actively study texts.

It assists young readers in better understanding the local, regional, national and international news they receive from a variety of media sources

It was created exclusively for The Irish News and designed for pupils in Key Stages 2 and 3, and involves eight weeks of activities. These offer a different way to challenge the knowledge and understanding of readers.

Pupils can read different types of articles to help their reading and writing, and then discuss what they read with classmates, parents and teachers.

With the primary goal of improving literacy levels among schools and directly targeting the reading/writing and talking/listening strands in the curriculum the Young News Readers has exceeded expectations.

In recognition of its diverse appeal, it has been shortlisted for several awards including the Society of Editors Innovation and Initiative Award of the Year. That followed shortlisting in the education partnership category in the Business in the Community Awards and best corporate social responsibility partnership category in the Ulster Grocer Marketing Award.

Schools too have been full of praise for the initiative, hailing it as fascinating and one that will help children to consider the validity of all the texts they encounter.

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