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Read all about it: The Blade is hand delivered daily to students at Southview High School students.
But what makes this new program unique is that it is not part of a special teaching tool, or a class requirement. Rather, students are reading the news for pleasure and leisure, voluntarily seeking out a broadsheet during downtime.
Each day The Blade Routers, as Media Specialist Pete Hildebrandt calls them, personally deliver about 70 newspapers to students for reading during study hall or any other downtime period.
The paper has been a staple in the Sylvania school system for decades. As part of the Newspaper in Education Program at The Blade, more than 3,000 newspapers are distributed throughout the Sylvania school district and staff daily, and used as teaching tools.
However, about a month ago Mr. Hildebrandt decided to build on the literacy and media curriculum.
“I was walking through study hall and the common areas and noticed periodically that students had downtime and noticed extra newspapers (that are recycled) were around. I thought why not see if they want something to read,” he said.
In the beginning about 50 students signed up for delivery. He said their circulation increased by 20, and is growing. Moreover, those that don’t sign up for the service are often seen grabbing a section from a news consumer, who will often share news sections.
“It’s all about literacy. I advertised the program on the morning announcements letting students know they can get their personal copy of the newspaper hand delivered,” he said.
Nine students are part of the circulation team, each responsible for handing out the newspaper each period. Nikila Luke, 15, coordinates the distribution for seventh period. One class on her route is Spanish study hall.
She enjoys her job, and giving people something to read during the study hall period, she said. A news reader herself, she looks forward to the Peach section of the paper. She also follows the ourtownsylvania.com site.
Ninth graders Nick Forche, 14, Nolen Folsom, 15, and Vincent Lucarelli, 15, are traditional news readers, preferring to hold the crisp paper in their hands.
“I like to touch the paper. It’s classic,” Vincent said. He gleans national news from the pages of The Blade, while Nick likes to see what’s happening in the world. For Nolen, reading helps him stay alert during the study hall period.
But for whatever reasons the students choose to read the newspaper, the point is they choose to read the newspaper.
Mr. Hildebrandt and his team customize delivery. Fridays are the heaviest news day, with Monday second.
“Some kids want it once a week. While some would like to read it Tuesday and Thursday,” he said.
Teachers have applauded the program, and students seeing other students read the paper is helping the concept catch on, he said.
“When I walk into the Media Center in the morning, I see kids in here reading the paper before the school day begins,” said counselor Jodi Hess.
Along with encouraging reading skills, and learning about local, national, and world events, the distribution of the paper is also a learning experience.
By managing the circulation list and ensuring customers receive their paper on time, The Blade Routers are learning coordinating and interpersonal skills, Mr. Hildebrandt said.