ELLSWORTH – Millions of readers have devoured Stephen King novels. A recent gift from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation will help ensure another type of publication gets in the hands of young readers: their local newspaper.
Through the Newspapers in Education program, copies of The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander are delivered to teachers across Hancock County for use in their classrooms. The $5,000 King Foundation grant will support the continued operation of the program.
There are many educational benefits to using newspapers in the classroom. Students can certainly relate to the school news and sports coverage, while feature stories tell of interesting people and activities in and around the communities where they live. In-depth coverage of area municipal governments teaches civics at a local level that will inspire civic engagement and good citizenship among students. Teachers have attributed lengthened attention span, better reading comprehension and renewed interest in regular classroom work to using newspapers in the classroom. They say the students find learning from the newspaper fun.
In years past, The Ellsworth American has hosted a giant Community Yard Sale, Flea Market & Craft Fair with proceeds going to cover the cost of Newspapers in Education. Due to COVID, there has not been a yard sale since 2019. Funding for the program was depleted after this past school year.
The American’s Sales and Marketing Manager Tracy Scheckel, in collaboration with nonprofit Heart of Ellsworth, applied for a grant from The Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, which has a strong interest in literacy, community services and the arts. The American was notified in June that it had won the grant. The funds will provide newspapers and digital subscriptions to hundreds of students in more than 20 different schools for the upcoming school year. Participating schools include College of the Atlantic, Deer Isle-Stonington High School, Ellsworth High School, George Stevens Academy, Hancock County Technical Center, MDI High School, Airline Community School, Brooklin School, Brooksville Elementary, Conners Emerson School, Hancock Grammar School, Pemetic Elementary School, Penobscot Community School, Sedgwick Elementary School, Surry Elementary School and Trenton Elementary School.
Looking beyond the 2022-2023 school year, Circulation Manager Cathy Marshall is working to expand distribution to additional schools and establish a more consistent funding mechanism for the program.
If you are interested in receiving newspapers for your classroom or you wish to make a monetary donation to help pay for the papers provided by the NIE program, contact [email protected]. Businesses interested in sponsorship of the program can reach out to [email protected].
For additional information, visit mainestaymedia.com/newspapers-in-education/.