Ask your students to bring highlighting pens to class. Then ask them to highlight any new words or words they are unsure of in News for You stories.
Ask students to pair up. Then have them compare their highlighted words. Student A can explain to Student B any of Student B's words that he or she understands and vice versa.
The pairs can join into groups of four. Again, students can teach each other any words that are still unknown. It is important for you to monitor this work closely to make sure the word meanings are correct. If any highlighted words remain unexplained after this step, you can explain them.
This activity gives students practice speaking clearly as they try to explain the meanings of the words they know. It recognizes that although students may be at the same "level," the knowledge they bring with them differs.
Ask each student to choose six crossword puzzle words and get familiar with their meanings. Have them write each of the words in a sentence.
You may choose to spread these activities into more than one class session.
First, ask students to read an article or articles from News for You. Then ask them to make a list of words that begin with each letter of the alphabet. Or you could draw words from News for You articles for the list yourself.
Set the list up in the first column of a three column grid. Label the columns "Word," "Part of Speech," and "Type."
Next, on that gridded list of words, have students label the nouns and verbs (as the words are used in the NFY article from which they were taken.) Put those labels in the "Part of Speech" column. Then label each noun as "common" or "proper." Label each verb as "action" or "being." Put these choices in the "Type" column.
Finally, have students make up sentences using the words.
Choose three to five words from a News for You article that you think will be unfamiliar to most of your students. Write the words on the board, then have the students read the article aloud or silently. Have the students try to come up with a definition for the first word based on the context of the article. When they're finished, have them look up the word in a dictionary to check whether they were correct. Repeat these steps with the rest of the words.
The teacher chooses one word at random from a photo caption somewhere in News for You. The first student to find the word must give the page number and story headline where the caption is, then read the caption aloud. If students don't know the meaning of the word, they can look it up in a dictionary. If there are several possible meanings, the class can discuss them.
Here’s a tip for using News for You crossword puzzles. Once students get used to doing the puzzles in class, it may not take them long to be able to do them independently. They may not need much assistance from the teacher. If that happens, try placing them in groups to work on the puzzles. Have the groups compete with one another. Students often enjoy the competition.
Try to ensure that teams are nearly equal in reading level. Sometimes that can be difficult to do. To help level the playing field, go around to those tables and give clues to those teams that need assistance. Don’t give students the answers. Just give them more clues.
Have each student choose a key word or name from an article and construct an acrostic using words or short phrases related to the chosen word. Here's an example using Capaci, the last name of a Powerball lottery winner:
Acquired $195 million
A retired electrician
Celebrated with friends
In an Illinois tavern
This is a good summarizing activity that involves higher-level thinking skills. It is appropriate for basic literacy, ESL, or GED students.
Have students construct crossword puzzles using clues that call for facts from the articles. Then students can exchange and solve their completed puzzles.
If your class has access to computers, this website may help.
Choose one article from News for You and have students circle the verbs in each sentence. List the words on the board, and talk about which verbs they think are the "strongest." You can talk about strong, active verbs and how they make writing better.
This activity gives students practice using idioms presented in previous News for You lessons. Write an idiom (for example, "cry wolf") on a piece of paper. Write a definition (for example, "give a false warning") on another piece of paper. Make sure you have enough idioms and definitions so that each student can participate.
Place idioms and definitions together in an envelope. Have each student select one slip of paper and then proceed around the room to find its match. When two students have matched an idiom with the correct definition, have them sit down together and write a sentence using the idiom. Students then share their sentences with the class.
Ask students to write the crossword puzzle answers in alphabetical order. This process helps them find words in the dictionary much more easily.
Make a list of homophones based on words in News for You articles. Homophones are words that sound alike but are spelled differently. Have students look at the list and find homophones in the articles.
Here, for example, are words that might go on such a list along with words that students might find in articles: to/too/two, four/for, know/no, inn/in, wood/would.