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!

One Comment

  1. Mary Haas
    October 7, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    This is a most interesting Blog and the reference sites are helpful. Today Newspapers seem like a source of information that is dying out. But in the past Newspapers were the heart and soul of current events. I see many great opportunities for teachers and students to learn through these newspapers and to learn research skills.

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