Common Core Aligned Historic Non-Fiction Newspaper Book Project



You Tube Project Overview:

This project-based learning experience enables middle grades students in ELA or Social Studies to master Common Core Reading Informational Texts and Writing Standards. Appropriate for grade 6-8, this project has scaffolds to set all students up for success.


sP22nCkE_400x400Designed for 9-weeks (a quarter) where students read a historic non-fiction text from a pre-approved list (included), draft articles for feedback on Edmodo, and create a newspaper with articles in different domains of explanatory, analytical, and persuasive writing about their book.

This project emphasizes student choice, autonomy, passion, Common Core integration, and organization/planning throughout the project.

Common Core also calls for more independent student reading and writing. This project integrates Common Core standards in an authentic setting and gives students an opportunity to practice reading/ writing about a topic that interests them.


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  • 29 Page Project Guide as a PDF and Word File
  • 1- Page Project Overview + Pacing Guide for Students to Plan Weekly Reading Goals & Article Drafting

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  • 2-Page Project Component Overview
    • Highlights Articles Types
    • Explains Weekly Edmodo Posts (you can also do this on paper if you aren’t a technology integrated school)
    • Rubric for Edmodo Posts (Article Drafts)
    • Formatting the Newspaper Expectations
    • 4 Pages of Exemplar Articles with Rubrics
    • Each Article is Highlighted Showing Different Rubric Components


  • Photo of Exemplar Newspaper

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  • Sentence Starters to use a Scaffolds for 5 Challenging Articles
  • 1-Page Pacing Guide for the Whole Project
  • 1-Page Project Rubric
  • 30 Historic Non-Fiction Book Recommendations for Students
    • Each Title Includes: Lexile Level, Page Numbers, Summary of Book, Number of Pages Range of Lexiles for all Reading Levels


Project Lasts One Quarter

This is designed as a 9-week project that is primarily done outside of class. The length and degree to which it is completed in class can be modified.

Give students the project overview and explain the project, components, and book selection. Give students a week to select a book and bring it to class. For classes with struggling readers, choose one text for the class.

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Student Reading Recommendations

Students spend five weeks reading a historic non-fiction text. Every week, they complete a “Discussion Post” in Edmodo that is a draft of an article for the newspaper. (You can have students use Google Classroom, Blackboard, a website, or they can handwrite the articles). Give students the sentence starters for articles (included in project pack) and discuss the purpose and key points of each article in class. Give students feedback on their article that can be integrated into their final draft.

Filler Article
Filler Article

After reading, students complete articles like the ‘Book Review,’ ‘Fillers,’ edit articles, and create the final newspaper.

Host a gallery walk in your classroom where students share their newspaper.


Standards are listed for 7th grade, but this project can be used in 6th and 8th by modifying elements of articles or text choice.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.1 Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
    • All articles require text evidence and explanation.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.2 Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.
    • Book Summary
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Book Summary Article
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.3 Analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text (e.g., how ideas influence individuals or events, or how individuals influence ideas or events).
    • Person Profile
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Person Profile Article
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.5 Analyze the structure an author uses to organize a text, including how the major sections contribute to the whole and to the development of the ideas.
    • Book Review
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Book Review Article
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.8 Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient to support the claims.
    • Book Review
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
    • Advice Column, Review, Editorial
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Advice Column Article
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
    • Editorial
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Editorial Article
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
    • Obituary & Advice Column

Get the project bundle here!

2 thoughts on “Common Core Aligned Historic Non-Fiction Newspaper Book Project

  1. Ms. Truslow,
    First, your material is wonderful! I am a huge fan. 😊 You obviously put a lot of time and effort into your work. I have a question about your Project Based Learning resource. I teach both Social Studies and Language Arts within one block. So, I have to be very efficient in how and what I teach. Does the project happen to include books/texts/topics related to the 7th grade Social Studies curriculum?I also teach in Tennessee. Thank you! Jennett

    Date: Fri, 31 Jul 2015 02:12:16 +0000


    • Hi Jennett,

      First, thanks so much for you note. It means so much to me that my products have been useful for you; it certainly is a labor of love.

      I’ll start by saying I think this would be a great SS/ELA combo project. Students will get the content through the text & the ELA work through the writing and revising process.

      I’m not as familiar with the SS curriculum in TN as the ELA (I’ve taught ELA more), but the texts I’ve included as recommendations span from Colonial Africa to WWII to the Civil War. With that being said, there wouldn’t be any changes that you’d need to make to the project itself if you wanted to choose a text that teaches SS content. The text choice is independent of the project, so you could also choose different texts or portions of texts based on reading ability.

      I hope this answers your question, but please feel free to reach out if you have any follow up questions.



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