A stack of newspapers greets Tonnette Carpenter and her students twice a week. Horoscopes, comics, and sports immediately grab the attention of the students. But Carpenter directs her pupils to local and national articles, using words printed on the page as a learning tool.
“The more one reads, the better reading skills become,” said Carpenter, the Clovis News Journal Newspaper in Education Teacher of the Year.
Carpenter teaches English to special education students at the Clovis High School. She has taught at the high school for 10 years, and has used the newspaper in her class throughout the length of her employment.
Carpenter is among 125 teachers in Curry County who receive the Clovis News Journal in the classroom, free of charge, through the Newspaper in Education program, according to Clovis News Journal NIE Coordinator Lynn Berry.
The papers, as well as corresponding curriculum guides and workshops, are paid for by the Southwest Dairy Farmers.
Schools in Clovis, Melrose, Fort Sumner and Grady, as well as the Clovis Christian School, receive the Clovis News Journal, Berry said. During the 2005-2006 school year, about 139,000 newspapers have been delivered to the schools, Berry said.
“A lot of my students would not be getting a newspaper if they weren’t getting it in the classroom,” said Carpenter, who uses the papers to reinforce reading comprehension and grammar.
According to the Newspaper Association of America, classrooms that use the newspapers score 10 percent better on reading tests than those that do not.
Since enrolling in Carpenter’s class, 18-year-old Rebecca Pierson has improved academically, and is now passing all of her courses, she said.
“(Carpenter) actually understands the students. She understands where we are coming from,” Pierson said.
Carpenter said she is honored to have been chosen as the Teacher of the Year.