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The Newspaper in Education/Youth Readership Program
of the New Jersey Newspaper Foundation


Teacher's Guide to the First Amendment

One of the most important elements of the New Jersey Newspaper Foundation's presentation of Woman of the World: The Story of Nellie Bly is the attention given to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Chapter 3 of the Guide for Teachers, Students and Families illustrates the importance of the press freedom in the United States.

I urge you to download and use the First Amendment Curriculum Guides, which were developed by the Illinois First Amendment Center and updated in 2010. One is for Grades 5-7. The other for Grades 8-12.

In order to retrieve that PDF file you will need Adobe Reader, which comes installed on most computers. Adobe Reader is available free at www.adobe.com.

I recommend that you print the curriculum guide so it's handy for use throughout during the school year.

Research by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in 2005 showed that lack of awareness and appreciation of the First Amendment is most acute in the media-rich suburban schools of America. Many New Jersey communities fit that description.

The shocking fact to come from the Knight Foundation research was that many of the 112,000 young Americans randomly surveyed said they approve of government censorship of the media.

Government censorship: That's exactly what Nellie Bly found in foreign countries when she filed her news reports during the late 1800's.

As Chapter 3 of the NewsBook mentions, Nellie had to return to the United States before she could write the truth about what conditions were in other parts of the world.

We all must work hard today to keep America free.

The First Amendment Curriculum Guides are important, useful information for teachers who want to help students the value of freedom in America.

Click on the links below to download the age-appropriate
First Amendment Curriculum Guides:
Grades 5-7
Grades 8-12

John J. O'Brien, Director, New Jersey Newspaper Foundation


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Founded in 1962 as the charitable arm of the New Jersey Press Association.

NJPF is a charitable 501(c)(3) foundation for inspiring youth readership, advancing student journalism, providing scholarships and professional internships, and boosting the public’s understanding of the free press and its role in our democratic society.

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West Trenton, NJ 08628-1022
Phone 609-406-0600 – Fax 609-406-0300