Write a News Story: Roll the Presses!

Learning to write a news story provides excellent training in anticipating and accurately answering readers' questions. With our fairy tale friends, learn how to write news articles!

Using the familiar backdrop of fables, folk, and fairy tales, we'll creatively design a daily newspaper for these imaginary realms. In writing a news story, we'll examine the key components of news articles, as well as what makes interesting leads. Then we'll organize and write a newspaper fit for the fairest kingdom of long ago!

Lesson 1: Write a News Story with the 5 W's
  • Step 1: Explain to your students that a news article addresses the five W's: who, what, where, when, and why. A well written news story anticipates and answers questions, becoming the eyes and ears of the reader, and sharing information as accurately as possible.

  • Step 2: Gather news articles beforehand, and make transparencies for the overhead projector or other media presentation. Together with your class, analyze the articles using the following outline:

  • Who: Who is the article about? Who would be interested in reading it? Who is the audience?

  • What: What is the purpose of the article? What is the main idea of the article? What is the desired result of the author?

  • When: When does the event in the story take place? When was the story written?

  • Where: Where does the news story take place? Where is the newspaper circulated?

  • Why: Why was the story printed in the newspaper instead of a book or other reference? Why did the events in the news story happen? Why did the author want the article to be written?

  • Keep copies of the above outline available for your students, for writing a news story at a later date.

Lesson 2: Write a News Story with an Interesting Lead
  • Step 1: Beforehand, gather news articles that have interesting, intriguing leads. Read these aloud, asking your students to share their opinions about the openings for these articles. Explain that a lead is often referred to as a hook, meaning that the writer is hoping to hook the reader into the article. A lead can be a sentence or a paragraph long, just enough to pull the reader into the news story.

  • Step 2: With your class, analyze each of the leads you've selected according to the following criteria:

  • Personal experience: Readers are often interested in learning from others' experiences.

  • Strong visual image: Encourage readers to create mental pictures.

  • Rhetorical question: Ask questions to stimulate the readers' thinking.

  • Facts and statistics: Use accurate but startling facts and statistics to surprise and shock readers into desiring more information about the topic.

  • Dialogue or quotes: Sharing a conversation or quote can effectively take readers straight to the article's action.

  • Keep copies of the above criteria available for your students, as they write a news story in the next lesson.

Let's Write a News Story for The Fairy Tale Daily!
  • Step 1: With your class, examine samples of local newspapers. Note that a paper contains news and information pertinent to citizens living in that vicinity. For a newspaper to remain in circulation, it must run interesting stories worth reading.

  • Step 2: Now brainstorm together a list of topics that imaginary fairy tale characters would find interesting. Here are some examples:

  • Rapunzel cuts her hair, donating her tresses to a foundation that makes wigs for cancer patients.

  • Cinderella's glass slippers are auctioned for charity.

  • The king of the realm adds dragons and unicorns to the list of protected animals under the Endangered Species Act.

  • Sleeping Beauty sponsors medical research into insomnia.

  • Step 3: Have each student begin to write a news story relevant to a fairy tale or fabled character. Remind students to refer to the criteria of the 5 W's and interesting leads, discussed in the previous two lessons. Have students edit and revise as necessary. Collect all news stories and use one of the many design templates available for typing up the articles into a newspaper layout.

Add illustrations to match, and there you have it! A highly entertaining, fun-to-read news daily from a kingdom far, far away! Enjoy this publishing adventure, as your students experience how to write a news story!

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