Urban News Report

NerdyTeacherMom found yet another way to trick her kid into reading and sneak in a quick lesson about journalism.

In our house we have a "no-electronics-at-the-table" rule. Well, really, it’s a “no-electronics-at-the-table-when-other-people-are-there” rule. Since I was the first one downstairs today, I set up the iPad to see what was going on with Snowzilla. Before I could even pick a news site, my 11-year-old had joined me.

“Let’s see what’s going on with this snowstorm,” I said, navigating to my folder of news apps. Before I knew it, she’d clicked on CNN. “You can’t find local news on CNN,” I chided. “Let’s check out the AP.”

“AP? What’s that stand for? That sounds boring,” she said.

“It’s the ‘Associated Press.’ They have the best news. They report it, and all of the newspapers, radio stations and TV stations get their news from them,” I explained.

I started reading aloud. By the second paragraph, she asked, “Why are you reading like that?”

“It’s my newscaster voice. I used to want to be a TV newscaster, you know.”

“Well, it’s okay if you sound normal,” she said.

With that, I shifted into my non-standard-English voice – the one I’m most comfortable with having grown up Black in one of the poorest cities in America. “Maryland” sounded more like Murlin. “Thundersnow” came out like thunduh-snow. My added definition of “intrepid people” came out as “people who wusn't scurred [scared].

My little one, quite gifted with impersonations (if I may say so myself), was ready to take her turn. She went through a couple paragraphs so impressively that I wondered how she learned to talk like that growing up in the suburbs. We even started some ad lib, passing the “mic” -- a wooden bridge turned centerpiece that she’s made out of colored popcicle sticks -- and commenting on what we were reading.

When she correctly pronounced “treacherous,” albeit with a twang, I told her I didn’t know she knew that word. “I just sounded it out,” she said. I suppressed my proud-mama happiness. I didn’t want to ruin the moment.

Apparently our laughter was louder than we thought, as big sis had stumbled down out of her 13-year-old slumber (or texting session?). She, too, was laughing.

When I got up to clean my cereal bowl, my little one pointed out that we hadn’t finished.

“We read the important stuff,” I said. I explained to both of them that in journalistic writing, the important information is always written first. I explained that back in the day, when newspaper articles were typed, then cut and pasted into the newspaper, the bottom of the article would often get chopped off if there wasn’t enough space.

Their expressions were telling me they were surprised I knew all of that, so I reminded them that both mommy and daddy were journalism majors in college. “That’s what we learned in college,” I added.

I grinned, but not too much. I didn’t want them to know how excited I was that they were actually listening or how proud I was to have created a teachable moment that was hilarious.


  1. It was a texting/snapchat/instagram session

  2. Wow, I feel like I was at the kitchen table with you all. Cool moment and journalism lesson.

  3. Great blog NERDYMOM! Keep up the wonderful work. Get that grumpy one to come to the table and join you soon...you know the one I mean? Yes, the Patriots' fan. Love from Dad.

  4. Thanks, Dad. No complaints here, though. That Patriots fan has been cooking and working hard ... and he went out in the snow today! Love you, too!

  5. I am going to have so much fun reading your blog!!!Love the journalism lessons!! Former E! Correspondent Alicia Quarles started her career in news working the AP wire!!

    1. your blog reminds me of a sunny day full of bunnies on rainbows.


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