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Writing a News Article

Suggested Level

Suggested Applications

Middle/High School History, Language Arts

Students will:
• Identify basic facts (5 W's) in a newspaper article through writing and discussion.
• Identify basic facts (5 W's) by watching vignette of the Medal recipient.
• Know and identify the term “lead.”
• Write distinctly using characteristics of news writers.
• Gather facts by listening, reading, and reviewing vignette.

Day 1 Learning the 5 W’s
Introductory Activity:

The teacher will distribute newspapers to each student. Choose one article for the whole class to read.

Each student will silently read a current article in a local newspaper about an issue that is meaningful
to the class. (It is helpful to first read the paper for an article the teacher feels students might respond
to before taking a vote on which article to use.)

Whole Group Activity:
Check for comprehension: In a brief discussion share various thoughts on the article.

Teacher introduces the term “lead” and the 5 W’s.

Lead—capture interest with all 5 W’s in the first paragraph.

Discuss the 5 W’s. Ask a student to write them on the board. What do the questions ask?

• Who?—person being interviewed/who is it about?
• What?—action/what happened?
• When?—time period/when did it happen?
• Where?—actual place/where did it happen?
• Why?—purpose for article/why did it happen?
• Optional: How?—in what way the action is done/how did it happen?

Share facts about the readability of the newspaper and the purpose of its format. Further explain
to the class the definition of the term "lead." It is the beginning, and usually the most pertinent,
information in the article. The lead often refers to stories found on the front page of a newspaper;
the rest of the article usually continued on another page. Explain that the reader can find the basic
facts of the article by reading the lead.

Small Group/Individual Activity:
Direct students to look at the article on front page. Identify the 5 W’s in the "lead" by writing them
down on a piece of paper.

Compare answers with partner and discuss purpose of the article. Repeat this process until
students are capable of identifying the 5 W’s.

Whole Group Activity:
Discuss answers to the 5 W’s and the purpose of the article.

Review 5 W’s and the term "lead."

The teacher will ask students to find an article and identify the 5 W’s. Students will create their own
definition of the term "lead."


Written purpose of the news article, the 5 W’s identified by the student, definition of the term"lead."


Quote: "The greatest gift I can leave my children is their heritage." - Einer H. Ingman, Army-Korean War

Additional Resources