Teachers Manual Introduction

We hope you and your students will enjoy using The Washington Post on a regular basis. To help you get the most out of your class time we have developed a guide that includes an overview for each section of the paper and more than 150 accompanying exercises. The program can be used for any subjectand level of achievement and can reinforce critical thinking and communication skills. In addition to practical classroom use of this program, it also offers you and your students an opportunity to explore the reading and writing process and to open up new avenues to language arts, science, history and mathematics as well as civics and government.

This guide provides you with a springboard of ideas that will help you easily incorporate The Washington Post e-Replica and Sunday print editions into your classroom.

Each section of The Post is introduced and examined from the perspective of using it as a teaching tool and resource. The features of each section are listed with a brief explanation and the days they appear.

The exercises that follow the overviews of each section of The Washington Post are graduated in three skill levels. Sidebars provide applicable academic standards from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., and skills and sub-skills. Useful Web sites and occasional reproducibles help you expand the uses of the newspaper and this material.

Our objective is to make this program comfortably fit into your teaching goals. By using the most up-to-date textbook available— a newspaper — and a mix of your ideas and ours, we hope your students will discover the importance of reading and using a daily newspaper.

Important Information

The Newspaper in Education

The Washington Post Newspaper in Education (NIE) Program extends The Post's commitment to supporting education in the Washington area.


Each school day, NIE-participating schools are provided with free access to The Washington Post.  In addition, teachers have access to topical NIE curriculum guides, a teacher's manual with lessons for each section of the newspaper, teacher training, and classroom demonstrations, all at no cost.


The result is an exciting learning environment in which students are empowered to build their knowledge in a variety of subjects, strengthen their literacy and analytical skills, and develop a daily habit of reading a newspaper.


NIE is supported by individual and corporate donations.


For more information and to sign up for the e-Replica program, use the following link: https://nie.washingtonpost.com/node/2


Teachers also have the option of ordering print copies at a discounted rate. To get the rates and to sign up for the print program, please email nie@washpost.com



Debra Booth


Program Overview

The Washington Post Newspaper in Education Program is a classroom resource designed to reinforce  four main fundamental skills and sixteen sub-skills necessary for students to master in order to meet the academic objectives of their school systems.


 The program offers a variety of exercises using all sections of the newspaper for any level of achievement: beginner, intermediate, and advanced (Levels 1, 2, and 3) and covering all subject areas.


4 Main Fundamental Skills

•Performing a Task



•Developing Positive Attitudes and Personal Interests


16 Sub-Skills


•Following Directions

•Understanding Forms

•Locating Information


•Finding the Main Idea

•Comparing and Contrasting


•Distinguishing Fact from Opinion

•Decision Making

•Predicting Outcomes

•Critical Thinking



•Drawing Conclusions

•Developing Visual Imagery


In addition to the four main fundamental skills and sixteen sub-skills, academic content standards for Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., are included. The academic content standard for your school jurisdiction may not apply to all three suggested exercises, but each standard applies to an aspect of one of the three exercises that are grouped together.

The Reading Process


Pre-reading strategies designed to stimulate students’ prior knowledge and to set purposes for reading are important to immediate and future success in reading.


Students can use headlines and pictures to predict the nature of the reading to be done. Brief discussions can probe their prior knowledge about the topic. Such exercises tickle out vocabulary and concepts that greatly increase the efficiency and effectiveness of important reading skills such as the use of context clues. Given what is already known about the topic, students can be encouraged to verbalize any new information the reading might generate on the topic. This helps set purposes for reading — an important strategy used by efficient readers.


During Reading

During reading, students should be encouraged to be self-monitoring as they read. (The literature uses the term “metacognition” to describe this self-knowledge.) Good readers are constantly, but subconsciously, asking and answering questions such as:

•“Did I already know this information?”

•“Does this information confirm or contrast prior knowledge?”

•“Where is the author going with this?”

•“What do I expect will happen next?”

Such questions maintain the reader’s focus on the primary function of reading—gaining meaning.



Quality after-reading exercises maintain the focus of the reader on comprehension. Such exercises send the reader back into the text to investigate the level of the reader’s understanding of the author’s purpose and message. The exercises not only measure the reader’s level of comprehension, but also extend that comprehension.


The modeling role of the teacher is a very important function in helping the developing reader to recognize and use the reading process. The student should be aware of pre-reading, during-reading and post-reading strategies which constantly facilitate and monitor the tudent’s level of comprehension.

The Writing Process

Pre-writing strategies generate initial thinking within the writer about the topic. The intent is to organize the writer’s thinking around a specific topic. Pre-writing activities may involve oral, written or drawn responses to a “prompt” appropriate to the writing topic.

During the drafting stage, the author begins to organize the thinking generated during pre-writing. What may have been a jot list of brainstormed ideas is structured into rough sentences and paragraphs. The emphasis is upon creativity and fluidity of thought. Here, it is important that ideas relevant to the topic are captured or organized. Sentence structure is more important than paragraph structure.


Revising allows the writer to focus on word choice and structure at the paragraph level. During the revision stage, the author’s purpose is to strive for clarity, as clarity is enhanced through the clear, logical structure of sentences and paragraphs and through careful word choice.

Editing is part of the process known as “proofreading.” The fine-tuning intended through this stage of the process attends to standard spelling and the conventions of the written language (capitalization, punctuation, etc.).


The final stage of the writing process, publishing, gets the writing into the hands of the audience for which it is intended. The methods for accomplishing this are varied: mailing or e-mailing the letter, including the writing in an anthology of class writings, posting the writing on a blog or social networking site, reading the composition to the class or including the composition within a bulletin board display.


The teacher should be aware of a few caveats regarding the writing process.


1. Not all writers move neatly through all stages. Some writers, for example, appear to skip the pre-writing stage by creating a well-structured first draft during the initial writing. At other times, these same writers may need to use pre-writing strategies to overcome “writer’s block.”


2. The stages of the process are not necessarily linear. While pre-writing is logically followed by drafting and publishing follows editing, the drafting and revision stages are cyclical.


3. It is not intended that all stages of the process are independent exercises. Specifically, pre-writing, revising, editing and publishing each benefit from interaction with pairs, a small group or the whole class.


4. It is not appropriate or desirable to subject all writing to management through the writing process. Personal letter writing and entries in personal journals or learning logs, for example, are inappropriate exercises for use of a process approach to writing.


5. It is not necessary that every piece of writing begun be taken through all stages of the process. The objective of a writing lesson may be accomplished in the pre-writing stage. A first draft may be all that is necessary for a teacher to see that the learner understands a concept. A combined consideration of the writer’s purpose and the intended audience acts as an indication of the degree to which the writing is completely or partially “processed.”


What Is a Newspaper?

Your students organize a clothing drive for Midwest flood victims, another student offers fascinating observations of a summer abroad. You hear the school board supports longer school days.  Share the news.  Publish information and these opinions in a newspaper and use The Washington Post as your guide.


News And Opinions

Any newspaper serves the vital purpose of facilitating communication— of informing.  Information comes to the newspaper reader in the form of news stories, news analysis or commentary, opinions of editors, columnists and readers and from advertising.

News sources in and around a city like Washington, D.C., are endless.  Obvious news sources are natural disasters and the reports of law enforcement agencies and fire and rescue departments.  Other sources include tips from anonymous and identified individuals and organizations, letters, announcements, press releases, government actions, legislative battles and judicial proceedings.

Editors determine which of these sources satisfies the criteria of news and which would be of interest to the readers or is newsworthy.  Often more than one of the criteria is involved in the same event, nfluencing the decision to report and publish the story.

Some questions editors might ask include:

Is the news important to the lives and well-being of readers? Did events happen that are of interest to readers right now? Did the events occur near the readers? Are the events unusual? Are well-known people involved in the news? Is the outcome of the event still unknown? Are individuals or groups of individuals opposing each other? Do the events involve love, hate, fear, horror or pity? Is the news about advances in science, technology or medicine?

Once editors identify what is news and which news is important to readers, the editor or assignment editor assigns a reporter and usually requests a photographer to cover the news. After research and interviews, the reporter composes the story at a computer terminal, beginning with a lead or lede — a first paragraph which answers the five W’s and one H: who, what, when, where, why and how.  The news story is traditionally organized in an inverted pyramid — the most recent information presented first — although that style is not as strictly adhered to as it once was.

News is not the only information in the newspaper.  Readers also like to read what other people think about the news.  Reporters’ opinions can appear as news analyses in the Main News section.

The opinions of the newspaper publishers are presented as editorials which adhere to a standard format of about 300 words with an opening sentence establishing the issue. And, in The Post, the editorial cartoon appears on this page.  Also on the same page, Letters to the Editor reflect the opinions of readers.  The page opposite the editorials, the op-ed page, contains occasional syndicated editorial cartoons as well as the opinions of scholars, lawmakers, syndicated columnists and journalists.  Columnists appear throughout the newspaper and write on a variety of subjects.  For example, Courtland Milloy and Petula Dvorak comment on life in metropolitan D.C. in the Metro section.

A newspaper also entertains through its comics, puzzles and lifestyle and entertainment sections.  Syndicated columnists offer humorous views of the world.  Other syndicated features include Ask Amy and horoscope information.  The Washington Post also offers how-to advice on gardening, cooking, home decorating, building and selecting a car.  There are guides for recreation for all ages including fishing and bridge, and for entertainment including movies, theater, music and museums.


What Is News?

Timeliness: News is now.  People are curious and they want to know what is happening today in their school, their town, their country and the world.  Some background information may be included to give perspective or to tell people what was reported in the initial news article.

Proximity: People are interested if the event is near to their school, home or work.

Importance: An event may not be happening nearby, but people want to know if it may influence their lives.

Magnitude: That which is large is noticed.  It is news if the rainfall created a flood, the lack of rain caused a drought; if the number of people who are ill is increasing, if the deaths are multiplying.

Prominence: It is news when celebrities, elected officials and well known individuals are in town or are involved in a new project.  According to Richard Harwood, former Post ombudsman, the journalistic yearning for important people “says something about our sense of values and about our perspectives on the world.”

Emotions: Human interest is built on the emotions of love, hate, fear, horror or pity.

Conflict: Confrontations that influence neighborhoods, institutions and countries require attention.  Conflicts impact harmony, economy and quality of life.

Progress: An actual breakthrough in science, medicine or technology or the hope of discovery is news.

Uniqueness: The unexpected, the first, or simply the bizarre can be a break from “bad” news or reflect changes in society, science and technology.


Who Are Your Readers?

Before deciding what you will print in your newspaper you must determine who your readers will be.  How many pages will it be and what issues will you have to address?  How many people will be on the staff?  Who will fund the newspaper?

The Washington Post editors know their readers are interested in government at all levels.  But they also know their readers are culturally diverse and interested in different things. They might seek information about trade agreements with Russia or they might care deeply about an office building scheduled to occupy the field next to their homes. The Post is able to print a wide variety of news because of its large readership — more than 500,000 daily circulation and 800,000 on Sundays.


Circulation And Advertising

The larger the circulation, the more advertising the newspaper is able to attract. Local stores and businesses work with the retail newspaper advertising departments to place display ads.  These ads are placed throughout the newspaper, interspersed with news articles.  Ad agencies representing national and international companies plan ads to run in newspapers nationwide.  Other local companies, such as Giant Food or Hechts, have departments that design ads for the newspaper while others do their own ads with the help of The Post’s advertising department.  Individuals, car dealers and real estate agents place mostly classified ads to sell, rent or buy merchandise and property.  Employers and job seekers also place classified ads.

Sports, entertainment, business, health, food, fashion, lifestyles, science, international, local and state news, births, deaths, religion and real estate are all categories covered in the pages of The Washington Post.  And as the complexity of our lives increases along with our choices, so do the areas of coverage — news geared to young readers, finances for single people, information on personal computers, tablets, and mobile devices are new categories covered in the paper that reflect contemporary lifestyles.


Newspaper Organization

A newspaper is a study in organization, from the macrostructure of newspaper sections to the microstructure of the inverted pyramid or the process of writing a news story. The Washington Post is separated into the daily sections of Main News including National News, Politics, World News, Business News and the Editorial Page, Metro, Style and Sports. For the most part, these sections stand alone and are identified by letters.

Special feature sections are added on particular days of the week: Monday’s The Environment and Washington Business; Tuesday’s Health and Science; Wednesday’s Food; Thursday’s Local Living; Friday’s Weekend; and Saturday’s Real Estate. On Sunday, the Outlook section appears behind the A section, followed by Metro and Business.  The Sunday paper also contains the Arts Section, Travel Section,  Sunday Style, the KidsPost and Mini Page, the Sunday Comics, and the Magazine.

Boxes are a layout tool used by editors to highlight certain stories and to make the page more attractive and orderly. Most pages come to the editor from the production department with the ads already placed on them. The layout editor lays out the page following the style adopted by the newspaper.  That style dictates certain typefaces for the story or body copy and for lead headlines and subheadlines.  The newspaper’s style also sets the size of the headlines; whether or not the editor will use a kicker of one or two words above the lead headline; whether rules will be used to separate columns; whether jump lines will appear and whether cutlines will be centered or flush left.  To improve aesthetics and readability,  editors can break out parts of stories or quotations,  referred to as pull quotes,  by printing them between rules in large italic type or in smaller typeface as subheads.

Editors must decide whether the paper will use color,  what size photos will be used and whether graphics, including charts, maps or diagrams, will accompany articles.  All of these decisions, repeated consistently,  establish the style of the newspaper in the reader’s mind and encourage a familiarity with it.  The reader will always know how to find articles in the paper and will know when certain sections will appear and through layout techniques can pick up information at a glance.


The People

Ad Designer

The artist who designs display advertisements.


Assignment Editor

An editor who keeps track of trends and newsworthiness of stories and makes assignments to reporters.


Copy Editor

An editor who is responsible to check news articles for accuracy, consistency and proper grammar, punctuation and spelling.



A person who helps develop and then edits stories for accuracy in reporting.


Layout Editor

The person who plans out the physical arrangement of text, photos, headlines and other content on a page.


Photo Editor

The photo assignment editor gives assignments to photographers. The photo editor goes over the film/images. With input from the photographer, the photo editor selects the pictures to be used in the newspaper.



A person assigned to take photographs for the newspaper to accompany news articles.



The person or corporation whose business is production or issuance of information. The publisher has day-to-day responsibilities for the newspaper.



A writer for the newspaper who follows a particular beat,such as sports, or has a general news assignment. Reporters are required to present the news completely — using both sides of every story and to remain objective in news gathering and reporting.




Body Copy

The written words or text of the actual news story. (Also called copy.)



Advertising in word form only, paid for by the lines of an ad or by the word.



The line that explains a photograph—either the people in the photograph or the action taking place or both. (Also called caption.)


Display Ad

Block size or page ads in various sizes that usually combine illustrations and written text about the business or merchandise to be sold.


Editorial Cartoon

Subjective expression of opinion through art. Considered to be obvious hyperbole or exaggerated symbols. (Also referred to as a political cartoon.)



Subjective expressions of opinions that are founded in factual material. The editorials are opinions written by the editorial staff writers who represent the newspaper as a collective organization and the publisher. They are not signed.



The line or lines, in large and different type, appearing above a news article and meant to briefly describe the contents of the article.


Inverted Pyramid

The style of writing a news story with the most important information first, followed by important information, finishing with the least important information at the end of the story.



A form of a table of contents that includes a brief summary and page number of news articles to be found elsewhere in the paper. Something to “key” the reader in to news elsewhere in the paper.



The opening line or paragraph of a news article.


Letters to the Editor

The forum for readers to express reaction and rebuttal to news articles. All letters must be signed or they will not be considered for publication.


News Analyses

A story written by a reporter or editor in which the writer can interject observations, predictions and opinions based on personal assessment. These stories are always identified as a News Analysis or News Summary in a boxed area within the first several paragraphs of the story.


Op-Ed Page

The page directly opposite the Editorial page which serves as a forum for syndicated political cartoons and commentary and individual comments and opinions.



The Visual



Putting text or graphic work directly in the center of a page, box or column


Flush Left/Right

Lining up the beginning or end letters or characters with the left or right margin, edge of a photograph or rules.



Any artwork on a page that is not part of the body copy. This includes graphs, tables, photographs and illustrations.



Screened image prepared for printing. The printed image or photograph is a halftone. Take a magnifier and hold it over any picture in the newspaper. You should see a series of dots composing the picture.



A picture or likeness taken with a camera. Photographs attract the reader’s attention and support the stories. “A good photograph asks questions and doesn’t give answers. … [The] image forces the reader to think and feel and wonder,” according to Post Photo AME Joe Elbert.



The words directly spoken by the person who was interviewed or from a written statement.



The work of writers handled by organizations that sell the writers’ work to various news media whether it is print or broadcast.


Jump Line

The line directing the reader to turn to another page to continue reading an article


Lead Headlines

The largest print headline that identifies the article.


Pull Quotes

The enhanced words from within a quotation or a news article that are enlarged and set off between two rules. It breaks up the “gray” of copy blocks and draws attention to a concept.



The thin and thick lines used to designate and separate columns of text or enclose a photograph or ad or other visual or textual components.



The smaller print headlines under the lead headlines that offer additional information to the lead headline.



The style of the letters used for everything written in the newspaper from the masthead to the classified ads.