Getting pupils to write can be a challenge for teachers across the globe. One of the key strategies to encourage writing is to provide a stimulus and purpose for the writing. Motivating pupils to produce a piece of work can be difficult, especially as children are still developing their skills, and busy comparing their work with the work of peers. But tech can help level that playing field, with some great websites offering templates that insert text to look like a newspaper report, which can then be printed off and displayed, or added to a portfolio of work showing the achievements of an individual.
We have come across a couple of generators that produce fantastic outcomes, with the potential of motivating pupils to write, in the knowledge that their work will look great once completed:
This site has been a favourite with many for a long time. Fodey produces a snippet of a newspaper article, so great for young learners, or for those who struggle with writing lots of content. As you will see from the image, we copied/pasted our introduction text into the generator; changed the date; created a newspaper title; gave the article a headline; then pressed the ‘generate’ button to conclude the process. When you are happy with the result, just click to download the clip, which will be saved in your downloads folder as a JPG, allowing you to print/save the work.
Be aware, for longer texts, the Fodey generator will dismiss beyond a certain point, so this website should only be used for short, snippet pieces, and it may be a good idea to ask pupils to name the reporter at the start of the article, so easy identification is possible if using with many children.
Created by the team at Homemade Gifts Made Easy, this newspaper generator allows for longer texts to be inserted, as well as an image, resulting in a PDF newspaper effect article. A lot of thought has clearly gone into designing this free, basic newspaper generator, with inputs allowing: Newspaper name; Headline; Author; Picture (our example used a jpg); and a box to copy/paste the article body text. With this free version, the generator adds a witty article after the initial article, which is fantastic as large blank sections do not spoil the effect. A premium version (see here) allows for editing the date of the newspaper, the inclusion of a large photograph, and the addition of an extra article in the final version (please note, we have not tested the premium version, but the price is $16.99, with discounts available for school teachers). Once completed, the generator creates a PDF version of the newspaper, which is handy for printing out and displaying.
The generated work looks like an extended version of Fodey, but the effect is very good and is a really useful resource to use with pupils who are impressed with the final outcome of their work.
For those wishing to use Microsoft Word to generate news items, some of the best / most useful templates come via WordDraw.com. The templates available from this site include a great bank of educational settings with a great mix of layouts which can be edited easily within Microsoft Word. We highlight these for those who do not have access to the first two options, but the final results are more colourful and allow greater flexibility in the final design/look of the newsletter.