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Newspaper readers become leaders

The St. Petersburg Times Newspaper in Education (NIE) program provides Tampa Bay area schools with free access to the Times and related learning materials. Tampa Bay area teachers order more than 5 million print and electronic newspapers for their classrooms every year.

The use of the newspaper as a "living textbook" in the classroom:

  • increases student engagement, achievement and test scores
  • creates lifelong daily readers
  • cultivates informed and involved citizens

One hundred percent of gifts to NIE are used to provide educational resources to local schools. We are grateful for the support of the many generous businesses, organizations and individuals who support our mission. For more information about our program and how you can help, visit or call us toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 8138.


Lee Bevan , Ippolito Elementary School

Lee Bevan
Lee Bevan, third grade language arts, Ippolito Elementary School, Riverview, teaching for nine years
What makes a good teacher?

You have to have the desire to give 110 percent. If your heart isn't in it, it doesn't benefit the kids. You need to believe what you teach. If a teacher isn't enthusiastic, (the students) won't believe.

What are your students' favorite features or sections of the Times?

They love the comics. There's a lot you can do with them in class.

How is the Times an integral part of your teaching?

I get to bring in entertainment ... and they want to start reading things that are real If it's a girl and she's struggling with reading, we'll go to the advertisements and have her pick out clothes she'd wear. If it's a boy, just give him the sports section.

What has been your favorite newspaper lesson?

I'll use the book On the Same Day in March (about weather around the world) to help teach. We use newspapers from all over to compare the weather in different places like Germany. The kids are really surprised to find out that somewhere it's snowing. They also get to pick out the main idea and purpose of writing.

What is most interesting about students today?

Children are not always exposed to things. Some of my kids have never been to the beach. They don't all have a lot of background knowledge or rich experience.

What has been your greatest challenge as a teacher?

Gaining technology resources: I actually wrote a grant for the classroom to receive new laptops back in August and they did not arrive until May, which was too late because it was the end of the year.

Reported by Amanda Starling, University of South Florida St. Petersburg; Michael Newcomer, Tarpon Springs High, and Nicole Zakrzewski, Palm Harbor University High. The students are on the staff of tb-two*, the Times' weekly newspaper for high schools.