In the article, students, a teacher and a parent discuss how the project has sparked their interest in the news and connections to the wider world.
“I used to only watch the news when I would see violence and kids getting shot in my neighborhood,” said Alyssia Nunley, 12, a student at Marquette Elementary School. But she said that after participating in the project for the past two years, “I started watching the news more often and talking about it with my family.”
As a result, she said, “I feel smarter and more associated with what’s going on around me.”
The project, now in its first full year in Chicago, is partnering with Marquette and six other middle schools and high schools and has launched a pilot with the Chicago Public Library’s YOUmedia program. It expects to reach more than 1,200 students this school year.
Jamiyha Williams, 11, a sixth grader at Marquette, said the NLP unit had prompted her to be a more engaged consumer of the news.
“I now watch the news with my dad,” she said. “My dad reads the newspaper every day and I say, ‘Dad, let me read the newspaper when you’re done with it.’ I write down some interesting facts from it.”
NLP’s major supporter in Chicago is the McCormick Foundation; additional support is provided by the Chicago Tribune Foundation and LISC/Chicago. LISC is also a partner in three middle schools, including Marquette.