Welcome back to our series on the newspaper! I want be very clear and transparent today: most of my research for this post comes from Wikipedia. It turns out that if you click on the links in the "Footnotes" section of an article, they take you to wonderful resources full of tons of great information! OK, to the point of this post: the history of the newspaper.
The modern newspaper as you and I know it was developed on the European continent in the 1500s. Single sheets of paper were passed around the streets of Venice known as “gazettes” and you should definitely click here to read the history of this word because it is fascinating. It wasn’t until 1609 that the modern version of the newspaper came into being and then it wasn’t until the 1830s that newspapers were being distributed widely. We can thank Johannes Gutenberg for inventing the printing press with movable type, because who knows how long it would’ve been before we got to where we are now! Famous people who ran/knew how to operate printing presses include Benjamin Franklin, Orville and Wilbur Wright, and the father of the most common printing press ever, George Phineas Gordon. He is responsible for developing a press that was quick and easy to use, thus advancing the trade and making it more available to a broader range of people.
The first unofficial newspaper ever printed in the United States came in 1690 but Benjamin Harris got shut down real fast by the British government. Word on the street is he was printing “fake news.” It wasn’t until 1704 that the British government allowed a very censored and controlled newspaper to be published on a consistent basis with very British-centric news and opinions. 1783 is when the Pennsylvania Evening Post became the first official daily American paper.
One important thing you should know before we wrap this up is that North American newspapers have almost always been part of the political spectrum. Go read the top section of this Wikipedia article and you will see that political parties have always been using the press to influence voters opinions! Politicians tampering with the press in 2018 is old news.
Next week I’ll talk about some good memories I have growing up reading the newspaper. See you then!
- written by David Baral, illustrated by Ryan Klein, 2018
I’m a member of the last generation who grew up reading the newspaper. In fact, the newspaper was part of my life for as long as I can remember. My best friend’s dad delivered the Star for almost 30 years. My own family delivered the weekly ad section that went out on Wednesdays for several years to earn extra money. When I first met my wife I found out he had worked in the newspaper industry for over 20 years as a circulation director. My father runs a printing press, not for newspaper, but still in the same industry. I even worked as a volunteer sports reporter for the school newspaper my senior year of college! Paper and ink run deep in my blood.
I remember going out to get the paper in the morning, usually barefoot in the winter, because I couldn’t wait to read the news with breakfast. Mind you, I was only 11 or 12 years old at the time! And no, I didn’t wear a bathrobe like the old guy in the movies. But there were words on those pages to be read and I had to read them. Over the next few weeks I want to take a quick look at the newspaper and the mark it’s made on society, and entertainment. Let’s examine the impact the newspaper had on life throughout the years, how it shaped public opinions, and how it told stories on a daily basis.
I appreciate the impact the newspaper had on my creative formation and the writers that inspired me through the years. Check back next week as we look at the newspaper’s humble beginnings!
- written by David Baral, illustrations by Ryan Klein, 2018
Encouraging people to read seems like quite the chore in this modern technologically advanced age.
I believe that if you personally will organize, reward, and share reading with your family, they will develop the culture of reading in their own life that will propel them forward and give them advantages that others are missing out on.
Make reading an organized habit in your home and your kids will not think of it as something weird, but rather something normal that your family does as part of your routine. Make reading a reward for accomplishing daily tasks and soon your kids will look forward to reading with eagerness and excitement. Make it a point to share reading with your kids every week. Those precious moments will fly by and you only have one chance to enjoy them to their fullest.
Reading together as a family will live on in your child’s memory and bring life to those moments when they look back on them as adults. Readers are leaders and it is up to you as the parent to lead the way. Encourage a culture of reading in your home and joyfully watch your kids reap the rewards.
- Written by David Baral, illustrations by Patrick Farley, 2018
The third way to establish a culture of reading in your home is to Share reading with your children.
My father worked second shift when I was younger which meant he wouldn’t get home until 10:30 or 11 pm. Luckily for me this meant that my “library days” started early in life. Mother would sit on the couch with 3-year-old me around 9:45 pm and begin to read. We would read through an entire stack of books before my dad came home. Some of the books were silly, some were to help me learn letters and numbers, and some were spiritual. She would read and read for almost an hour until my father would make it home to be with his family. I can vividly remember sitting beside her while she read, waiting for Dad to walk through the door. Sharing reading with your child at an early age will do wonders for their aptitude and desire to read.
First, read a book with your child. Sit down next to them and show them the book. Let them read the words they know. My father taught me to read when I was five and I haven’t stopped reading since. If my mother hadn’t read to me when I was younger I don’t believe I would have that thirst as I grew older. My sister learned to read when she was four because I was so excited about books and after that our youngest sister could hardly stand the fact that her older siblings could read and she couldn’t. The culture of reading was strong in our house and it trickled down directly from our parents.
Second, read to your children until they are very old. We would have a sit-down family reading time as often as our busy schedules would allow. My father and mother read the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, Gentle Ben, Marguerite Henry novels, Christmas story books, and many more. Gathering together for just a half hour to hear one chapter became such a tradition in our family. One chapter was never enough! We would beg our parents to read more.
Third, read the same book your child is reading. Ask them to pick out a book and then read it when they are done. You will have something to talk about with them at dinner and in the car on the way to school and at the pool. You will have something in common. I remember after reading Barbara Bush’s thick volume, my mother took me to a theater downtown to hear her speak. It was actually one of her book tour stops. I was one of the youngest people there, but I remember the experience vividly and fondly as I shared it with my mother. My wife and her mother read the same series when she was in high school and they still swap books to this day. As a result they are able to converse with one another about the books and enjoy that shared connection over reading.
Check back next week to read the conclusion of our series on establishing a culture of reading in your home!
- written by David Baral, illustrations by Patrick Farley, 2018
The second way to establish a culture of reading in your home is to make reading a reward!
I can remember our library doing a promotion where if you read twenty books over the span of three months, and recorded all the books in a list, you could turn the list in at the library and they would give you a coupon for free pizza! The problem was that we didn’t need the motivation thanks to the pre-established culture of reading. In fact, the library told my mother we were not allowed to get any more coupons. Me and my two sisters and read 60 books apiece in the first month of the competition. 9 free pizzas was enough for the library to cut us off. But we kept reading!
First, don’t make reading the task that must be accomplished before your child earns the reward. This will take all of the joy and excitement out of reading and turn it into a chore. Rather, making reading the reward! “You can read your book after you’ve made your bed and put your clothes away.” Or “if you get all the toys in the yard put away before dinner you can spend some time reading!” Treat reading the way you want your children to treat reading.
Second, use positive terms to describe what you read. “I’m excited for this evening when we all have a chance to sit down for a bit, I can’t wait to find out what happens next in the book I’m reading!” Or “This memoir I have been reading is so interesting. It’s really helping me understand what life was like for people like us in the 1800s.” I can remember my mother reading Barbara Bush’s memoirs when I was younger. She spoke so glowingly about the way it was written that I asked if I could read it. That book has 592 pages! As a 12-year old it was a big book with few pictures but I read every last word. Thanks to my mother’s excitement I wanted to know exactly what made that book so interesting!
Third, make sure your child has a book or set of books that is “theirs.” There were many series that my sisters would check out from the library that I would end up reading. Yes, I’ve read countless Nancy Drew mystery stories, and I know the names and back stories of ALL the original American Girl Dolls. But there were a few series that my mother said “these are for your sister's. You can’t read them.” And vice versa, there were some books that my mother told my sisters, “these books are for David.” She did not do this to make us jealous or discontent, but rather to make us happy to have something that we were reading for ourselves and that we would have to verbally share with others. It built excitement and gave us a chance to share what we were reading with the rest of the family.
Next week we will look at how you can share reading with your child!
- Written by David Baral, illustrations by Patrick Farley, 2018