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Birthday News


If someone in your family has an important birthday this year, (e.g., sweet sixteen, fortieth, etc.) commemorate it with a newsletter supposedly published on the day that person was born. The whole family can get involved in this project.
  • The RIF Guide to Encouraging Young Readers
  • Celebrations and Holidays, Family Time, Writing
    • 9-12
    • teen
  • Multiple
  • Indoor
  • Play

MATERIALS: The Reader's Guide to Periodicals (in your library's reference section) and newspaper microfilm, family scrapbook, baby book, paper and pen or typewriter, access to photocopier (optional)

Give yourselves plenty of lead time-at least two weeks-and plan at least two trips to the library.

Here are the kinds of things to look for:

  • Headlines. At the library, one person uses the newspaper microfilm to locate headlines that appeared on the day the birthday person was born.
  • Old Magazines. Another person can scan news and popular culture magazines published during the week or month of the birth date. What were fashions like? Were there any scientific breakthroughs? Who were the top entertainers? What movies were released? Who were the major sports figures and what were their records? What was happening on the national front? Around the world.
  • Birth-Date Trivia. Ask if your library has the Day By Day series published by Facts on File for each decade. (At this writing, they're only up to the sixties, so this reference will only come in handy for researching adult birthdays.) Look up the birth date and pick up some newsworthy tidbits. You might also ask for Chase's Calendar of Events or some other publication that lists celebrity birthdays and other noteworthy events that occurred on the same day, though not necessarily in the same year.
  • Family Scrapbook. A family scrapbook or a baby book should have plenty of information and artifacts. What were the birthday person's birth statistics (weight, length, etc.)? Who delivered the baby? Do you have a copy of the birth certificate and announcement? Baby photos?
  • Interviews. Different family members can be asked to recount the big event. Where were they? Can they remember what songs were on the radio? What the weather was like? Do they have any funny stories connected with the birth? Family members take notes as they collect stories and materials, then everybody agrees to write up a different article or feature. The lead story, of course, is the celebrated birth. An "Ask Amanda" column may advise what is considered an appropriate length for a mini-skirt; a weather forecast may predict what someone has researched to have been the actual conditions. Names in the news may include Eisenhower, Gandhi, Twiggy, Stalin, or Nadia Comaneci. Design a Birthday News banner and print the dateline underneath. Make it someone's responsibility to neatly copy or type the finished features on sheets of standard-size paper. If possible, photocopy the newsletter so all the participants can have one. The original goes to the birthday person.
Birthday News