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Teacher praises press program

A Putnam County teacher is crediting the Newspapers in Education program for improved test scores.

In fact, a marquee at Poca Middle School expresses thanks to Charleston Newspapers.

Louann Godbey, eighth-grade West Virginia History teacher at Poca Middle, credits the NIE program for playing a role in a six-point increase in WESTEST scores from 2011 to 2012.

"I truly believe that our weekly newspaper sessions played a big part in helping my students achieve higher test scores," she said.

Each Wednesday, her students are given about 45 minutes to read the newspaper. Half of the time is to be spent reading section-front news articles.

Then they may move on to sports, cartoons or anything they enjoy reading.

"If I give assignments, I find they are reading for answers instead of content," she said. "I want them to enjoy the experience of reading the paper."

Newspapers are an excellent source for teaching West Virginia history and current events, she said.

Students look forward to the arrival of the newspapers, and she shares them with the seventh-grade teacher.

She added that Poca Middle has an excellent staff, achieved adequate yearly progress, and was named an exemplary school.

Renee Daly, NIE coordinator for Charleston Newspapers, said she often gets positive feedback from teachers who take advantage of the program, and others climb on board after learning about it.

"I got two new schools today," said Daly, who added that 34 schools throughout West Virginia are now getting newspapers through the program that was established 17 years ago.

"Not only do we send papers to schools, we have special publications."

Publications are printed throughout the year and funded by sponsors.

These include things such as recycling, civil rights, drug and alcohol awareness, black history, Gazette-Mail Regional Spelling Bee, and West Virginia Department of Agriculture.  

Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation will fund "Get on Track for College."

Some schools purchase newspapers while others are sponsored by area businesses covering that expense. A reduced rate is charged for school newspapers. Subscribers often donate newspapers while they are away on vacation.

Teachers use them for a wide variety of lessons, said Daly, who keeps a list.

Among subjects where newspapers are incorporated - current events, social studies, science, journalism, history, reading, math, English, psychology, health, physical education, special education, civics, and creative writing.

Free educational resources are available online through the NIE program.

For more information go to or contact Daly at or 304-348-7906.

   Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at or 304-348-1246.



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