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News replaces books for a day

Sixth-grader Doug Cartwright liked learning that Utah Jazzmen Greg Ostertag and Jacque Vaughn enjoyed reading Dr. Seuss books as children, just like he did.

Classmate Madison Johnson was saddened to learn people died in a school shooting near San Diego and when a bridge collapsed in Portugal.

Both responses are just what Oakwood Elementary sixth-grade teacher Cheryl LaMont loves to hear. Oakwood, in Granite District, Tuesday was among schools in all 40 districts statewide where the entire school participated in the annual No Books Day, sponsored by the Deseret News Newspapers in Education department.

As many as 64,000 copies of the newspaper were distributed to schools around the state to replace textbooks for a day. Deseret News Publisher Jim Wall also

visited Oakwood for the event, which marks national Newspaper in Education week.

"It's a good break for them. They're enjoying it — that's what's important," LaMont said.

The event encourages youngsters to connect what they learn in the classroom to real-world events. The event also stresses literacy. The state and several districts have set goals to have each student reading on level by third grade.

"I like newspapers because you can figure out stuff about other people, not just yourself," student Johnson said.

The paper included a special educational section, "Reading: Come On, Get Into It!" with the Utah Jazz as the centerpiece. That also seemed to draw the attention of several of LaMont's students.

"They're my favorite team," Cartwright said. "This is interesting to me."

Teachers received instructional materials, a classroom poster and Jazz stickers for students. Elementary and secondary students also could access a NewsQuiz via the paper's NIE Web site,

"We love it. We encourage kids to read any time we can," Oakwood principal Ernest Brodrick said. "We're afraid kids are going too much to (TV) media and not the newspaper. We hope they'll learn to go away from the 60-second bit on the news and go for in-depth information. That's critical."