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By Paula Hubbard volunteer coordinator, Milverton Mayhem magazine

Having trouble getting your children to read for pleasure? Well, how about producing a school magazine – a magazine by the children for the children

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Running a school magazine might sound like an extravagance that you haven’t got time for, but with a little planning you’ll find it’s a brilliant way of motivating the unmotivated and stretching your more able students while covering some important parts of the curriculum.

Your first task will be to decide how you will put the magazine together. You have a few options:

  • Use a desktop publishing (DTP) package such as Microsoft® Publisher or Adobe® PageMaker.
  • Use a word-processing package such as Microsoft® Word.
  • Or use the good old write-and-draw, then cut-and-stick method – you can use the photocopier to reduce the child’s work. All three methods are effective and can give different, but equally great, results.

Recruiting your team

If you are nervous of tackling DTP technology, send a note home with your children and ask for volunteers. It’s possible that some of your children’ parents will have some experience.

Get your colleagues onside too, as they’ll be coaching contributors to the magazine. Ask them to talk to their children about the kinds of magazines or comics that they read. What do they find interesting? Is there anything that they don’t like? Wordsearches, puzzles, reviews, ‘find the…’ quizzes and interviews will no doubt be popular. Ask the children what they would like to see in their school magazine. And what they think has been going on in the school. Maybe you’ve had new staff members or been on a school trip? Or discuss events that have happened in the local community that have had an effect on children – what’s their view on these events? Emphasise that this is the children’ magazine and a chance for them to have their say.

Time management

If this is your first go at producing a school magazine leave plenty of time and set yourself a rough schedule. Begin by setting up a magazine meeting timeline:

  • Magazine set-up meeting
  • Contributors/commissioning meeting
  • First editorial/design meeting – explain design and editorial principles
  • Second editorial/design meeting
  • Third editorial/design meeting
  • Fourth editorial/design meeting
  • Proof pages
  • Corrections
  • Press day.
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