Are you news literate? What does that mean, and how do you know if you are?

The term “fake news” is used a lot these days, and a majority of people feel like they can spot it, but a fair number of those same people admit to having shared fake news with others.

So what’s the remedy?

Becoming news literate is a start.

In today’s issue of The Missourian, you’ll find Step One of a News Literacy feature from the Missouri Press Association. It’s the first of five features that outline what it means to be news literate.

Written for students, the News Literacy series is an important resource that teachers can use in the classroom, said Dawn Kitchell, educational services director for The Missourian.

“We always begin our Missourian In Education program around International Literacy Day, Sept. 8,” Kitchell said. “And we’re excited to tie that to a media literacy series to help young readers learn how to be critical consumers of news.”

But like all of the youth content The Missourian publishes, readers of any age can learn from the features, she said

The News Literacy series is only the start of a year’s worth of curriculum-based features that will appear in The Missourian now through May for the Missourian In Education program. Teachers from elementary through high school can sign up to have classroom newspapers delivered at no cost to the schools each Monday for use in lessons across every subject area.

The first classroom newspapers, the Sept. 9-10 weekend issue, will be delivered to schools on Monday, Sept. 11.

This year, every teacher who signs up for a Missourian In Education subscription will receive a set of Newsworthy Moments Task Cards designed to be used in classroom learning centers.

“We created these task card sets last year and shared them in our teacher workshops,” said Kitchell. “Teachers told us that they were a terrific tool to use with the newspaper in their learning centers.”

The 33-card set provides elementary and secondary Newspaper In Education activities in math, reading, science and social studies.

“Each card focuses on a skill and provides two activities using the newspaper to help students to practice that skill,” she said.

Weekly News Quiz

The weekly News Quiz based on stories found in weekend issues of The Missourian will return with the Sept. 30-Oct. 1 issue. The quiz will be posted to emissourian.com on Mondays, and students will have the full school week to complete it.

A winner will be selected Friday afternoon from all of the entries with correct answers. Weekly prizes will be gift cards either to Sugarfire or Imo’s restaurants, who have sponsored the News Quiz since its beginning.

Run to Read Author

Tracy Maurer, author of the August Book Buzz Middle Pick “John Deere, That’s Who,” will be the featured guest at this year’s Run to Read 5K, set for Saturday, Oct. 14, at Washington Public Library.

This picture book with illustrations by Tim Zeltner that resemble those by Thomas Hart Benton tells the inspiring story of how John Deere, a young blacksmith a bit down on his luck, designed a new type of plow that forever changed the way farmers plow their fields.

In addition to speaking at Run to Read, Maurer will make several school presentations during her visit. Schools will be selected from a drawing of teachers who have signed up to participate in the Missourian In Education program by Oct. 1.

Kali: A Polar Bear’s Tale

In January, The Missourian will participate in the annual Reading Across Missouri project, organized by the Missouri Press Association to get young readers inside their newspapers reading and learning. For 2018, children’s author Carolyn Mueller, who Missourian readers have come to know well, is writing an eight-chapter serial story about Kali, a polar bear at the Saint Louis Zoo. The first chapter will appear in the Jan. 6-7 issue of the newspaper.

“Kali: A Polar Bear’s Tale” tells the story of one polar bear’s journey from the Arctic sea ice in Point Lay, Alaska, to the Saint Louis Zoo. When Kali is orphaned as a cub, he has to be cared for by zookeepers. While he learns about what it really means to be a polar bear, he meets friends along the way, including Luna, a fellow bear at the Buffalo Zoo.

This story follows Kali as he grows from a 20-pound cub to one of the largest land carnivores on Earth!

Polar bears are incredible, unique animals, but their Arctic home is threatened by rising global temperatures. The story will include information on what people can do to help polar bears like Kali.

Family Reading Night

The 17th annual Family Reading Night, a free community-wide reading event, will be held Friday night, March 2, at Washington Middle School. The featured author will be Brian Biggs, an author/illustrator who lives in Philadelphia, with his book, “Tinyville Town Gets to Work.”

“In Brian’s book, Tinyville is a little town with bridge trouble, so the community sets out to build a new bridge,” Kitchell said. “We are Tinyville, and that’s exactly what we told Brian in our plea to get him to come be our guest!”

More Youth Features

Students and all Missourian readers will be able to test their Constitution IQ with a 10-question quiz that will be featured in the Sept. 16-17 issue to commemorate Constitution Day on Sept. 17.

A 10-part STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) series, published in the newspaper several years ago, will begin in the Oct. 21-22 issue. Created by the St. Louis American, the series is informative, creative and educational, said Kitchell.

A few of the other planned features for young readers published as part of the Missourian In Education program include a Veterans Day feature in the Nov. 11-12 issue and an eight-part gardening series, Amazing Soil, that will begin in the March 17-18 issue. The series was created with the help of Matt Herring of the University of Missouri Extension Office in Union and new this year, will include a feature on farmers’ markets..

The eighth annual regional spelling competition organized by The Missourian and sponsored by hth companies, The Bee, will be held Saturday, April 21, at East Central College. The spelling guide that includes words to study for The Bee will be published in the newspaper in January, just as students return from the holiday break.

Book Buzz, Kid Scoop

Book Buzz, The Missourian’s popular children’s literacy project, celebrated its 15th birthday this week. Every month, the Book Buzz column features three book recommendations that appear in the first weekend issue of the newspaper, and reviews of the previous month’s books written by area students appear in the last weekend issue of the month.

The Missourian delivers copies of the Book Buzz Picks donated by sponsors to schools across the area along with classroom newspapers. Book Buzz books also can be found in Washington and Scenic Regional libraries and are available to purchase at Neighborhood Reads bookstore in Washington.

Young readers have six weeks to read the books and submit reviews on the Book Buzz Picks to Newsbee@emissourian.com. A guide for writing book reviews can be found at emissourian.com. Book reviews can be submitted by classrooms, students at school and young readers at home.

And the popular KidScoop feature with a puzzle that links to online learning will continue to appear weekly, along with the Sudoku puzzle.

Ornament Contest

This November, The Missourian will hold its first ornament contest, inviting children and adults to create ornaments made from the newspaper to help decorate a tree in the annual Community Festival of Trees held at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ.

The ornaments will be featured on the tree and two winners from the children’s category and two from the adult category will be selected to win a cash prize.

Watch The Missourian for more details.

The Book Brigade

Twelve years ago after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans leading to massive flooding, Kitchell organized a community-wide book drive to benefit a library that had been destroyed in Waveland, Miss. The campaign, Some Friends to Feed, collected more than 2,000 books and delivered them to Waveland to help rebuild its library.

“The disaster that was left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina seemed insurmountable; I wasn’t sure how to help in a meaningful way,” Kitchell said. “The inspiration came in a book — a retelling of Stone Soup, and we saw that we could to help feed the community with good books.”

Kitchell felt then that a community that cared so deeply about books and reading could connect through literacy to the area that was suffering so greatly after the hurricane. She feels the same way now after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Texas, where she grew up.

Kitchell has plans to lead another community-wide literacy drive to benefit the flooded region. The Book Brigade, as the campaign will be called, will be a partnership between the Missourian In Education program, Neighborhood Reads bookstore, and the Washington Optimist Club.

“We’re just waiting to see where the need is the greatest and how we can support a community by getting books back in kids’ hands,” she said.

Program Gets Underway

The Missourian In Education program is available to teachers in all communities served by The Missourian. Classroom newspaper subscriptions are provided at no cost to educators, thanks to support from community partners. Those Missourian In Education partners and classroom supporters are recognized in today’s newspaper. The Missourian also provides training and curriculum at no cost.

Classroom newspaper subscriptions get underway this year with the Sept. 9-10 weekend Missourian, which will be delivered to schools Monday, Sept. 11.

To register to participate in the Missourian In Education program, educators should visit emissourian.com/mie.

Parents and educators can follow the Missourian In Education Facebook page for updates, book reviews and other literacy-related news.

For more information on The Missourian’s educational outreach efforts, contact Kitchell at kitchelld@emissourian.com.