NIE program collaborates with schools
Russellville Elementary School fifth grade teacher Stephanie Mayfield has used newspapers in her classroom over the years. She uses the papers to keep her students up to date on current events but Mayfield said the papers serve a broader purpose.
"I use the papers across the curriculum, and the kids just love it," Mayfield said.
She said her planned newspapers activities can be used to teach grammar, English, writing, spelling, math, social studies or science.
"We use them in every subject," Mayfield said.
She has her students complete newspaper activities each week. Some activities require them to complete a page of questions based on the newspaper issue, or the students will cut and paste specific words as part of an activity.
"Using the papers helps us in every subject, but it really helps with the writing assessment because they are so familiar with different kinds of words," Mayfield said.
She said the newspapers help reinforce lessons taught in the classroom and show the students real-world skills.
"Coupons and grocery ads really show the students that math is important when you get out of school, and that there are reasons behind learning it," Mayfield said.
Mayfield is one example of several teachers in Franklin County who use The Franklin County Times Newspapers in Education (NIE) program to supplement their classroom curriculum.
Charles Pounders, circulation manager for the FCT, said approximately 300 free newspapers are delivered to classrooms on a weekly basis.
"We want our papers in the classroom to benefit our youth," Pounders said.
The NIE program is completely funded by donations and fundraisers. In the past, the FCT has sponsored calendar fundraisers, which have included the cutest pet and cutest baby contests.
This year the FCT has brought back the cutest pet contest. Proud owners can enter their pets into the contest, and the winners are ranked by the number of votes they receive.
The fee to enter your pet is $3 and each vote is 25 cents. The deadline to enter is Oct. 1, and all pets will be shown through Oct. 5. Beginning Oct. 8 through Nov. 5, the top 25 pets will be shown. The 13 winners will be shown in the Nov. 9 edition of the paper. The winners will appear in the 2009 Pet Calendar, which will be available in January 2009.
In addition to the annual fundraiser, the NIE program receives donations from the community. Current sponsors include Clark Pulley, Russellville Gas Board, Russellville Financial, Dr. Yves Morrisette, Lanny Norris State Farm Insurance, Morgan Chiropractic, Roger Bedford, Campbell Vision, James Insurance, M&N Wrecker Service, There's A Way Inc., Johnny Mack Morrow, Laura Johnson Nationwide Insurance, Timothy F. Malone, Russellville Pharmacy, Hometown Pharmacy and Circuit Clerk Anita Scott.
"We are always looking for new sponsors for this program," Pounders said. "We encourage everyone to participate in these contests and buy our calendars because all the money raised goes back to the kids."
Pounders said the annual cost to distribute 300 papers per week is approximately $9,000, so any donation amount is welcomed.
For more information about NIE sponsorships in Franklin County or to receive newspapers free of charge in your classroom, call 332-1881.