Every third, fourth and fifth grade student in the Sunnyside School District is going to be bringing home a little something extra today (Friday).
Each of those students is going to be coming home with their own copy of the Kid County Courier, a newspaper designed for children.
The newspaper is something Chief Kamiakin Elementary School Principal Julie Schmick is excited about getting in the hands of her students.
She said the colorful graphics, interesting stories and various activities all work together to engage students and encourage them to read.
"Every angle we can get kids to read we have to try," Schmick said.
Kid County Courier is a supplement being offered by the Daily Sun News in Sunnyside. Publisher Tim Graff explained that he first became aware of the children's newspaper through the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association (WNPA).
He noted that the WNPA is marketing the children's newspaper, which was created by Jeff and Debbie Blodgett of Olympia, throughout the state. Graff added that the Daily Sun News is one of the first newspapers in the state to begin formally offering the supplement to its readers, noting that the Sunnyside School District is the first school district in the state to offer the newspaper to its students.
Although Sunnyside is one of the first newspapers to offer Kid County Courier, Graff said at this point 24 WNPA member newspapers have signed on to carry the children's supplement.
Kid County Courier is something that will be inserted in the Daily Sun News on the second Thursday of every month. In addition to being found in the folds of the Sunnyside newspaper, additional copies of Kid County Courier will be printed and distributed for the school district.
Julie Kaplicky with the Sunnyside School District said once she gets the newspapers she will send them out to each of the schools, where they will be distributed in the classrooms.
Kaplicky said the concept of having a children's newspaper is so new that she's not sure how teachers are planning on using the supplement in their classrooms.
Schmick anticipates the newspaper will simply serve as another tool for her teachers. She said newspapers aren't something most children read on a regular basis, but having something to call their own may change that.
"I think it's just a great supplement for our reading program," Schmick said.
She said she also likes the idea that the newspaper can serve as an interactive tool. Schmick said the newspaper not only includes articles on topics that are of interest to children, but it also has different activities to engage the reader.
"It catches the kids from a variety of angles," Schmick said.
She added that teachers never know what it's going to take to get a child interested in reading, and being able to offer students their own newspaper could be the key to unlocking the world of reading for some children.
Schmick said she also likes the idea that Kid County Courier is something that is being printed right here in Sunnyside.
"This has Sunnyside stamped on it," Schmick said. "It's from their own community."
Graff said he thought the newspaper was something that should be offered in Sunnyside because it encourages young people to pick up a newspaper. He added that he also realized that literacy was something the Sunnyside School District has been focusing its attention on recently.
"It's a good way of introducing kids to newspapers," Graff said.
He added that he also likes that Kid County Courier is a well planned out product. Graff said the creators of Kid County Courier invested a lot of work into developing the children's newspaper.
But for Graff, the key component to Kid County Courier was ensuring that it was something the Sunnyside School District would support.
Graff said he was encouraged by the response he received when he made a presentation on the publication during a recent principals meeting.
"Their response made it happen," Graff said.