How the project works

The award-winning Irish News Young News Readers Critical Literacy Media Project for children aged 8-12 is delivered in partnership with Translink, EY, Fujitsu and St Mary’s University College.

Once registered every school will receive a 100-page educational resource booklet to support learning throughout the eight-week project. This booklet contains information on the project/ timeline and all the information teachers will need to deliver a truly rewarding and positive learning experience for young people.

Within the booklet, tasks have been tailored to support learning at Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3. Teachers can choose which tasks to undertake with students based on the complexity level appropriate to the age group.

Starting March 16th, for eight weeks, every Wednesday a 56-page specially commissioned School Edition newspaper is edited and printed covering key issues and matters impacting young people. The newspaper will include bespoke content curated for the project and a selection of news stories taken from The Irish News editions in the previous week.

As part of the sign-up process, schools will confirm their nominated newsagents and the School Edition newspaper will be delivered every Wednesday to this address. It is the teacher’s responsibility to collect the newspapers for the project. Every student in the class will receive a newspaper and they are encouraged to bring their paper home and discuss learning with the entire family.

Schools will also have the option to access an e-paper to support trends in young people consuming news.

What schools receive

  • Resource booklet to support learning with tasks and exercises
  • One School Edition newspaper per pupil every week for 8 weeks
  • Press passes for all students taking part
  • Certificate on completion for all students
  • Opportunities for school visits
  • Competitions and school trips

2022 WEEKLY
EDITORIAL THEMES

Our specially commissioned School Edition newspaper will feature news and stories relevant to issues and matters affecting young people. Each week we will pick a theme and the newspaper will feature articles and interviews with people of influence exploring these topics to raise awareness and a platform for discussion.

Mental Health problems affect around one in six young people. This can affect all areas of their life: home, school, friendships and relationships. It is important to help everyone understand mental health problems so no one has to feel alone. The Irish News supported by our sponsors want to ensure there is more awareness around mental health with the hope that this project will help to promote personal wellbeing and the importance of asking for help if you need it.

The purpose of our second theme is to explore career-related learning and open up the world of opportunities that are out there. It’s about showing young people that opportunities are endless, exposing them to a wide range of experiences, and encouraging them to understand that they can be anything they want, regardless of their gender, ethnicity or where they live. It’s also about dismantling the gendered and racialised stereotypes about careers that children as young as six can begin to develop. Career-related learning has been proven to motivate and fire the imagination, especially when it comes to their learning, as students are beginning to learn more about their own abilities and talents and see the links between their learning and their future.

How children and young people think and feel about their body and the way they look can affect their mental health in both a positive and negative way. If children and young people feel that they do not match up to certain standards, or that they are not ‘good enough’ in some ways, it can affect them negatively. This week, we will share information about healthy choices and exercise and reinforce positive body image messaging through interviews with role models, breaking down myths around edited versions of bodies that social media audiences are accustomed to expect.

Climate change poses an urgent threat to future generations and many young people feel their generation is under pressure to solve environmental issues such as climate change and plastic pollution. This theme will explore awareness, concern and how we can take charge and make changes every day to live more sustainably.

The rise of technology has had a significant impact on the lives of young people. Technology can be an amazing tool, however, there are also concerns about how it impacts self-perception and privacy. While social media can be praised as a way to connect with both family and friends during difficult times, it is not without its drawbacks. We will explore ‘being kind’ on social media, cyberbullying, privacy issues, and a waning awareness of reality.

As young children grow older and move through the school years, they’ll get to know peers with a wide variety of abilities, cultures, languages, and backgrounds. It’s totally natural for them to notice similarities and differences and express curiosity. This week we will celebrate diversity and express positive interest in diverse cultures, things that make them special, encouraging students to have open conversations about stereotypes and biases.

Uncertainty over the future is a major concern for many young people. The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the life of every child in the country. It is not only an unprecedented public health emergency, but also a challenge for society and our economy. Children are hearing lots of complex and difficult information in the media and in conversations with family. This week we will reflect on the past two years, look at what is changing and recognise achievements during this difficult time.

For the final week we take the opportunity to look back over the past 8 weeks and share content from schools, reflect on learnings and celebrate the learning and discussion that has taken place across the country.

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