How To Make Your Own Home Newspaper
You can publish your own, private, home or home-school newspaper!
Publish it every day, every night, once a week, or on special occasions (first day of school, family birthdays, holidays, etc.).
Make it long or short, customized for your family!
Mom can type it for the children, a wife could make a little one for her husband's lunchbox note, or an older brother or sister can do it for a creative writing project.
Here are some suggestions to get started:
Duverger- Les Titres du Jour via Wikimedia Commons
Getting The Look
Type it on the computer, or use an old manual typewriter! Try a newspaper written and decorated by hand! It is destined to become a family treasure!
Your computer might have software that creates newsletters with columns and titles very easily. Programs like "Publisher" or the like have templates you can use. Word processing programs sometimes do, too.
Three or four columns on a page is more "newspaper-like" as well as justifying the text (that is, straight on both the left and right). A single-column paper with paragraphs broken up by subtitles is fine, too. Don't forget boxes here and there for ads, illustrations and content you want to draw attention to.
Use fun fonts to help characterize your paper. You can make it look like it was hot off the presses in 1776, or the local town paper in the 1940's. You can find some neat old-style typewriter fonts on the Internet to download, or your computer might have some. This page has one called "Old Newspaper." Use a really fancy font for the Masthead (name of paper), or write it fancy by hand.
[A reader recently sent me this page full of free fonts to add to your choices.]
Your newspaper can be one-sided, or two-sided, or several pages long... as long as it is fun to write. Start small and see how you like it!
Getting The Content
Morning News by Francis Luis Mora, via Wikimedia Commons
If you have no clue about how to fill up your newspaper, here are some ideas:
Have the children studied something interesting in school? Have them write a short paragraph about it. Are you trying to memorize scripture? Write it in the paper. Has the family gone somewhere recently? Write a little report of the trip. If someone in the family likes to make up stories, have them write one for the paper, or dictate it to you while you type it out. I like writing Serial stories (to be printed one chapter at a time). I put them in a column called "Cereal Stories-- to be read over Breakfast." Don't forget funny things said around the house-- you will be glad you wrote it down someday.
"Little Sister has declared that she will give Mommy "Pink" when she grows up. Mommy is looking forward to owning "Pink," and wondering if the rest of the world will have to come to her to get permission to use it."
There is a lot of public domain (copyright-free) content on the Internet. Poems, stories, and quotes can be gleaned from old books on Gutenburg.org or Archive.org. Google books has old magazines such as Popular Mechanics and Good Housekeeping, which may have reports of a "new invention" or tips for cleaning house from a century ago.
If you know somewhat of what you want to say, but need more information, include quotes from wikipedia to fill out your article. Make sure to reference the source, it's a good habit.
The Illustrated Newspaper by Platt Powell Ryder via Wikimedia Commons
If your newspaper will be an ongoing one, make a list of regular "columns" and features, and ask the family for submissions. Keep them short and entertaining. Some possible columns include:
- Announcements-- this could be everything from "Will Bobby please return the book he borrowed from Timmy" to "Today is National Clean the Smith House day. Please arrive at 10 o'clock sharp with your broom and dustpan."
- Don't forget the weather! Make up a weatherman pen name, look out the window, and make a guess on the weather. It will be fun to see if you were right. You can include an almanac of sorts, and tell when the sun will rise and set. If you hear on the news about a weather system coming, you can announce it-- like the first snow of the season! Some computer fonts have sunshines, umbrellas, and rain clouds-- see if your computer has such symbols in the "character" section of your word processing program.
- An Etiquette/Advice column, or a What would you do? Quiz on appropriateness
- In A Nutshell- interesting facts in a sentence or two, or perhaps basic answers to questions that have come up during the week (Daddy, why is the sky blue?). This could also be a "did you know?" type column.
- This Day in History (Just type in the month and day on wikipedia, and there is a list of all the events that happened on that day. One might be of interest to your family so you can put it in the paper.)
- History of something- food, inventions, objects, words.
- Biography-- a short overview of a famous character in history and the events that shaped his life.
- Geography facts-- children like to know what is the highest mountain, the deepest lake, the driest desert, the biggest this and the tallest that.
- Science or Nature fact
- Word roots - My own newspaper had a "It's All Greek To Me" column with a new root word a week. Learning the Latin and Greek roots of English is fascinating. You can do a Google search for the subject and find many helpful sites.
- How to draw-- your in-house artist may want to be the editor of this column, or you may find some old book that explains concepts of shapes, shading, perspective, etc.
- Fill-in-the-blanks poetry or Mad Libs. Limericks are fun too!
- A quilt square pattern-- for the seamstress(es) of the family. Many newspapers in the past included one for the ladies of the house. If you find an old newspaper pattern, reprint it, but you could also make up your own and name it after your family!
- Something for the younger set to read-- I like to find old school readers online and include one of the lessons for the beginning readers to try.
- World News-- You can select what you want to report and put it in your own words, add your own opinions, and make it simple to understand.
- Photos-- have a ball game or a scrabble marathon, and make the winners pose to have their pictures in the paper!
- Include games! Make up your own crossword puzzles, word scrambles, find the differences or even put up a times table grid with only some of the numbers filled in.
- Art with observations and questions. I had an art study on the back of my little home newspaper (see below). Paintings can be found on Wikimedia commons that are public domain or use with acknowledgement, and other sites such as museums often give reprint permission for classroom use. It is helpful if you know the name of an artist to search for. I like Charles Burton Barber for his child-friendly story paintings, or the playful feline paintings of Henriette Ronner-Knip.
(By the way-- since I do love these little art studies-- how did you answer that last question? Did you notice the little blue ruffly dress on the chair? The floral canopy behind the girl? The gift on the bed? Do you think she was sick and that is why she had a gift and breakfast in bed?)
Finding Illustrations and Advertisements
If there is a budding artist in the family, see if they will contribute a cartoon or illustration to the paper. Make up advertisements for goods that are custom-made for your family. Illustrate a short story with small pictures in the margin.
Public Domain clip art is not hard to find on the Internet. One of my favorite sites is The Graphics Fairy. Wikimedia commons is another source, only you never know what you might run into, so mothers should be the ones to search that for graphics. Old advertisements can be amusing and make the paper look "real."
From Wikimedia Commons. Feathers, anyone?
Once the paper is printed out, you can roll it up and tie it with a string and "deliver" it. Put it on the breakfast table, set it in a homemade mailbox, or my favorite method: toss it on the children's bed to wake them up in the mornings! Be sure to save every paper and put them in a notebook. It will make fun reading on rainy days years from now!