This week while browsing the IHT over breakfast, I nearly fell out of my chair after reading an awesome piece about a British newspaper for students called The Day. You can check it out here: “Explaining the Issues Behind the News.”
The articles are designed to explain the key issues of the day in a way that is accessible to students, whether it be on the economy, the North Korean nuclear crisis, or Edward Snowden. It immediately occurred to me that it would be ideal for upper level ESL classes. Although I only teach children, I see no reason you couldn’t use this newspaper with adults as a bridge to studying ordinary newspapers.
Quality is rarely free. This is a pay site with an individual subscription rate of £52 ($80) per year (albeit with a great group rate). At a glance, though, you can see that there is a lot of value to be had. A lot of care has been put into each article. The files can be downloaded as PDF files and printed out. And the best part is that at the end of each article there are questions and activities all ready to conduct with your group.
Now as the paper is produced in the UK you will have to deal with British spelling (e.g. colour instead of color). There will also naturally be a lot of mention of British culture, politics, and places that might be unfamiliar possibly to you and probably to your students. This does not have to be a drawback to the North American. Rather, you should think of it as an opportunity. I’m of the opinion that if your students are advanced enough to read a newspaper, they’re also probably old enough to be exposed to the wider world, and in fact will be all the better off for it. You, as the teacher, just need to be prepared to provide the background information and explanation that will bridge the gaps in their knowledge.
Check it out and let me know what you think!