A big pile of illustrated letters from a fourth-grade class, sending love and thanks for their classroom newspapers with the Kid Scoop feature, has convinced Bruce Branum, publisher of The Greenville (Alabama) Standard, that he made the right decision to publish Kid Scoop. The letters arrived a few weeks after the children’s feature began with several sponsors on Sept. 1.
“I love the math parts. The puzzle part is so fun. Really you’re the best. And I love the news and how much you get to read. Sincerely, Kathy, 4th grade Georgiana School”
“I learned some new words. You should give this to us all the time. Sincerely, Jalikan.”
“The Kid Scoop it is so funny. Every time I read it makes me laugh all the time and I’m glad you print them out because I love to read them. And your scavenger hunt it is very cool and fun to do. Sincerely Jrocemf.”
Branum had been searching for a newspaper feature that would stimulate reading by youngsters because he was frustrated seeing Alabama schools drop to a literacy level of 50th in the nation.
“I took Kid Scoop on a bit of faith,” he told us. “But I knew our newspaper had to be part of the solution. I had gotten interested in reading the newspaper through the cartoons when I was a child, and I was looking for something especially for children. Then Dan Patio Dalton, Kid Scoop’s representative, sent me samples of Kid Scoop, and I chose it over all the others.”
Branum wrote to his advertisers — whom he addressed as “Partners in Education” — about the paper’s Literacy Campaign, encouraging sponsorship of Kid Scoop.
“It is a marvelous opportunity for your company to show the community how much you care about kids and education. It is a way to connect your company message of the importance of literacy, and a way to contribute to economic development, a future workforce, and a civically engaged citizenry.”
He offered several levels of sponsorship, and right off the bat, three sponsors for the weekly page stepped up: the Butler County School System, Camellia Communications and the Regional Medical Center. The sponsors support the weekly Kid Scoop page and Branum contributes copies of the complete weekly newspaper to schools in the small town of Greenville, population about 8,000.
“It’s easy to drop off the papers because our delivery person goes right past the schools for newspaper stand delivery.” Kid Scoop is part of his paper’s overall literacy and civics campaign that includes a series on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Branum said he chose Kid Scoop because it is interactive and supports teachers who wish to engage children and their parents in reading. Each teacher receives a Teacher Guide with suggestions on how to use the Kid Scoop page in the classroom, as well as additional online resources for children and their parents. “I feel the printed newspaper is a whole lot more significant than kids’ reading on a tablet,” he asserted.
And current research has revealed that readers (both adult and younger) read more closely from a printed page and tend to skim online — with less comprehension.
Branum is currently seeking sponsors for summertime when schools are closed and research shows that reading levels drop over the summer break.
Branum recalled the day he brought the papers to Georgiana School; a teacher had just asked the principal for newspapers in the classrooms. “It felt like a bit of divine intervention,” he said.
In his letter to potential sponsors, he wrote: “The most common comment I receive from principals, teachers, parents and students is ‘Our kids love the paper.’” Included with his letter were social media posts that have been shared, copies of The Greenville Standard and a Kid Scoop page displaying current sponsors.
To learn more about Kid Scoop, contact Dan “Patio” Dalton at (909) 793-9890.