Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades 3-8, students explore BrainPOP features and resources to learn about how to read a newspaper. Then using what they learn, students will summarize a newspaper article and share with the class.    


Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Brainstorm what they know about newspapers.
  2. Watch a BrainPOP movie about how to read a newspaper.
  3. Analyze a primary source newspaper article using the Make-a-Map tool.
  4. Read, review, and summarize a newspaper article and share with the class.
  5. Write a newspaper article (extension activity)



  • Collect and bring to class newspapers of varying types, such as daily and national.
  • Preview the movie Reading a Newspaper to plan for any adaptations.
  • Preview the Primary Source to plan for any adaptations.
  • If students will be working offline, make copies of the 5W’s + H Chart and Primary Source newspaper transcript.
  • Lesson Procedure:

    1. Project the KWL chart on the whiteboard, or draw your own. Activate students’ prior knowledge about newspapers by asking them what they know. Jot their responses in the “What do I Know” column. Then ask what they would like to know about newspapers, and write their responses in the center column. Explain that you’ll return to the KWL at the end of the lesson. 
    2. Show the movie Reading a Newspaper on the whiteboard to the whole class once through without pausing.
    3. Remind students that newspaper articles tell you the who, what, when, where, why, and how for a specific event. Working with a partner, have students open Make-a-Map from within the movie and select the Spider Map from the Map Templates.  You may model how to do this on the whiteboard. Spider Map for MAM
    4. Now have them select the Movie option, and scroll to the part of the movie that gives an example of the 5W’s and H (time code 1:10). Again, you may model this on the whiteboard. Spider Map2 for MAM Have partners label the center the title of the example article “Giant Panda Arrives at National Zoo” and have them identify the who, what, where, when, why and how for the story in each of the squares.
    5. On the whiteboard, open the Primary Source document for this topic. Point out that this primary source is a front page article of the newspaper The Pennsylvania Gazette from July 10, 1776. Ask students what happened in July 1776. They should know, or remind them, that that July 4, 1776 is America’s Independence Day--the day we celebrate the Declaration of Independence. Explain that this newspaper article from 1776 is about the Declaration of Independence. Distribute the transcript of the article to small groups and have them open the 5W’s + H Chart on the computer (alternatively you can print it out and distribute a copy to each group). Have students collaborate within their group to identify the 5Ws and H in the article. NOTE: If the article is too challenging for your students, you can do this a whole class activity with you guiding them.
    6. Next, provide each small group with a newspaper or a few newspapers. Have each member of the group choose a different news story, for example one may chose a local story while another a national story, and still another a world news story. Explain that they will read the article and share a summary of the article with their group.
    7. Distribute the 5W’s + H Chart to each student and encourage them to use it to take notes. Explain that identifying the 5Ws and H will help them summarize the most important point in the news story.  Have them read and summarize their articles, then share their summaries with their small groups.
    8. Finally, bring the class together as a whole group again. Display the KWL chart from the beginning. Ask students what they learned about reading a newspaper that they hadn’t known before.

    Extension Activities:

    Have students take on the role of newspaper reporters and write an article about a local news event. Remind them to takes notes on the 5W’s + H Chart to ensure that they are covering everything and to help them organize their writing. Put students articles together to create a classroom newspaper.