Most of us would go without the morning coffee than the morning newspaper. But, how many of us get the most from the newspaper? We read without a plan merely as a habit. We read for the diversion or relaxation and not for the educative values or informative ideas it provides.
News terms describing everyday happenings like accidents, crimes, tit-bits, comic strips, weather reports, shopping guides, radio and TV programs belong to the first group. News stories reporting on the visit of foreign dignitaries, the question-hour of the parliament, important inventions and innovations around the globe, sports events, book and film reviews, short-stories and articles in the society page come under the second category. The richest from the viewpoint of education consists of the editorial, the business page, special articles, interviews, biographical sketches and the ‘letters to the editor’ column.
One of the prerequisites is the allocation of time according to the kind of material read. Find the items that require more time and concentration, and that can be read in a lighter vein. Of course, we must skim through the whole paper once to arrange the items according to the priority. You may be wondering how to select the items quickly. Every newspaper report begins with head line and brief information about the story. So, after reading the headline and the first few paragraphs we can choose the items we require. Moreover, there are supplements along with the main issue of the newspaper those pertaining to education, entertainment, science and technology, matrimonial, employment, property, literary reviews and the like. We can mark those items pertaining to the different branches of knowledge like science, history, philosophy, biography, technology etc., and later cut out and file these clippings. When these clippings accumulate and are orderly classified we would have compiled an exciting informative mini-encyclopedia itself.
Although our interests guide the reading, yet the absence of substantial vocabulary may act as an impediment to our reading speed and comprehension. But, though the difficult words hinder our smooth reading and understanding, they also give us a wonderful opportunity to improve our word-power. We can enter such words in a scrapbook and get their meaning using the context with a dictionary. This will help build language skill, use of the correct syntax, spellings and learn how to narrate an event.
Newspapers, therefore, become the best teachers when they are read and understood systematically. “The careful reader of a few good newspapers can learn more in a year than most scholars do in their great libraries,” said American author, Franklin B.Sanborn.