2003 Conference Proceedings

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NEWS-2-YOU: A "TURN-KEY" TOOL FOR THE SPECIAL NEEDS EDUCATOR

Presenter
Jacquie Clark, M.A., CCC-SLP
706 Windward Circle
Sandusky, Ohio 44870
Website: www.news-2-you.com

The term "'turn-key" comes from the construction industry. It describes a product, which can be used immediately upon delivery, one that can be activated with the simple turn of a key. The weekly currents events newspaper News-2-You is just such a product: download it on Thursday and build an entire week's instruction-reading, math, turn-taking, classroom discussion, cooking, game activities, etc. around its main story of the week. Thousands of classrooms are already benefiting from this "turn-key" tool. Should yours be the next?

All individuals have a right to current information, not just those of us able to routinely decipher the information-intense formats favored by newspapers, radio and television. Hut how is that need for current events knowledge met within the special needs community? News-2-You has been filling that void since 1998.

News-2-You is an Internet newspaper designed for individuals who require additional visual reading cues. The newspaper provides "big picture" news to a population largely denied that data. News-2-You began over ten years ago in a single school district as a symbol-based newspaper. The paper used mostly Mayer-Johnson Picture Communication Symbols. It was an instant hit.

Sharing the News-2-You concept, however, proved difficult; there was just no easy way to reach additional student populations in a timely manner. In 1996, a "how-to" book was published in an effort to "spread the word" of this new teaching tool. Although the book was a modest success, it still did not accomplish the author's ultimate objective: to provide a true current events newspaper to a national audience. Now, thanks to the Internet, that objective is being accomplished.

News-2-You is available each week at http://www.news-2-you.com. It provides subscribers with 22-30 pages of new (all symbol-supported) information. The paper leads with a 6-9-page feature story taken from the week's news. There are also recipe, joke, wh-question review, crossword puzzle and game pages plus a vocabulary page. All the activities are related in a direct way to the central topic of the paper. If there is a subject-appropriate additional news (holiday, sporting results, ets.), "Extra News" pages are added. The last page includes 4-6 large pictures, the "Words of the Week". These can be used as communication aids and in vocabulary enhancement activities.

In 2001, News-2-You introduced three new features at no additional costs: a simplified edition of the main paper, a communication board and new pictures in Boardmaker format. The 6-7 page simplified version consists of a single news page and joke, recipe, game and review page, all designed for use with the lowest level readers. The communication board includes the weekly current events vocabulary that can be used to facilitate many vocabulary activities. The Boardmaker picture files permits users to add new Mayer-Johnson icons-those drawn specifically for use in the current newspaper-to their Boardmaker file.

Subscribers can also select downloads containing additional pages-weather, sports, birthday, etc.-which allows them to expand the paper's generic content. Local "editors" can then personalize the product, highlighting classroom-level news and personalities.

News-2-You can be adapted for any age group. It is being used in special education classrooms, preschools, and workshops and in many consulting programs. It is an exceptional tool for mainstreamed and inclusive students. Primary school teachers who report it to be a great way to involve their lower level readers in group reading activities have also used it effectively. Parents, teachers and students report they "love" the paper.

"New", relevant information drives most conversations, and News-2-You provides it. Many subscribers describe measurable vocabulary growth, which they attribute to the paper. This unique, cost effective resource is proving its worth in classrooms around the world.

Jacquie Clark, M.A., CCC-SLP
706 Windward Circle
Sandusky, Ohio 44870

Learning Objectives

Participants will be given access to a weekly document that can help students:

News-2-You provides teachers and students with 25-30 pages of fun-filled, relevant and current information weekly. Its newspaper format, combining feature stories within a structured format, makes it an ideal teaching tool for the entire special needs community. Receive a CD with sample papers.


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