Read All About It: A New Teacher’s Guide to Analyzing Newspapers

Teaching with the Library of Congress is excited to announce an addition to the Library’s suite of Teacher’s Guides for working with primary sources!

You may already be familiar with these format-specific sets of analysis prompts for photographs, maps, cartoons, manuscripts, music and more. Now there’s one especially for working with newspapers. Pair this guide with the printable or online primary source analysis tool to guide students into deeper analysis and reflection of primary sources from the online collections of rich historical primary sources from the Library of Congress.

The evening world., September 01, 1915, Final Edition, Image 1

Omaha daily bee., September 01, 1915, Image 1


Warren sheaf., September 01, 1915, The Royal Road to Farm-Lands Best, Section One, Image 1

Compiled in collaboration with the Library’s newspaper experts, these prompts can help students use typical features of newspapers:

  • Headlines for main ideas and language of the time,
  • Visual elements, such as photographs, drawings, and cartoons,
  • Reports on related events, and
  • Dates to help establish context.

In addition to the questions, the teacher’s guide suggests followup activity ideas at three levels of complexity to help students think more deeply about headlines, layout choices, and varying perspectives across time or location.

This guide is especially well suited for analyzing newspaper articles and pages from Chronicling America. Chronicling America provides free and open access to more than 10 million pages of historic American newspapers selected by memory institutions in 38 states and territories so far. These states participate in the National Digital Newspaper Program, a joint program of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress, selecting and digitizing historic newspapers published between 1836 and 1922 in their own state for aggregation at the Library of Congress. Read more about it at and follow us on Twitter @librarycongress #ChronAm #10million !

Explore previous posts for more ideas on teaching with newspapers, including approaches to reading informational text and tips for finding treasures in the archive using the topic guides compiled by expert staff.

Leave a comment sharing how you teach with newspapers!

The Américas Award: Bringing Literature to Life with Primary Sources

On Friday, September 18th, 2015, the Library of Congress hosted the Américas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature. The award, co-sponsored with the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs, recognizes work that “authentically and engagingly portrays Latin Americans, Caribbeans, or Latinos in the United States.” These diverse stories can be highlighted and brought to life through the use of primary sources.

Primary Sources in Science Classrooms: Introducing Trey Smith, 2015-2016 Library of Congress Science Teacher in Residence

Trey Smith finalI would in no way compare myself to Benjamin Franklin–for a number of very good reasons. However, as a newly minted science Teacher in Residence at the Library of Congress, I recognize that reflecting on Franklin, both as man and myth, might help me make sense of the opportunities ahead.

A Year of Opportunities: Introducing Tom Bober, 2015-2016 Library of Congress Audio-Visual Teacher in Residence

We’re delighted to introduce the Library of Congress 2015-16 Teacher in Residence for audio and visual materials. Since 2000, the Library of Congress has selected an exceptional teacher to advise and collaborate with its educational staff. Tom Bober, a librarian at RM Captain Elementary in Clayton, Missouri, has used primary sources on historical and scientific topics from the Library of Congress to help students construct knowledge.

Celebrating Thomas Jefferson, His Love of Books, and Fifteen Years of the National Book Festival

This year the National Book Festival is bigger than ever with over 200 authors, 1000 volunteers and tons of opportunities to celebrate the joys of reading. As this year is the 200th anniversary of the purchase of Thomas Jefferson’s books to help rebuild the Library of Congress we are saluting Thomas Jefferson and using his comment, “I Cannot Live Without Books” as the theme for this year’s festival.

Visit the Library of Congress at the Mississippi Book Festival

Mississippi is hosting its first book festival, and we’re invited. On Saturday, August 22, I’ll be at the Mississippi State Capitol representing the Library of Congress education program, alongside colleagues from the Veterans History Project, the American Folklife Center, and the National Library Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Stop by if you’re in […]

New Library of Congress Ebooks: Japanese American Internment, Women’s Suffrage, and Political Cartoons

What would it be like to hold history in your hands? To leaf through the pages of a suffragist’s scrapbook? To scrutinize a political cartoon published by Benjamin Franklin? To hear a decorated veteran speak to you about what it was like to live in a detention camp in his own country? The Library of […]