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Martha Speaks: Mixed-Up Headlines

What's The Point

Extra! Extra! Exploring words, their meanings and how they relate to other words builds core vocabulary and writing skills. Newspapers are a rich source of language-learning opportunities. In this activity, your newspaper needs some headline makeovers, and your child gets to do the remodeling.

Related Game

Town Crier – Join Martha’s news staff and build your own newspaper online.

This Activity Will Help Your Child

  • Build vocabulary and writing skills
  • Understand the different components of a newspaper

Book Suggestions

  • Extra! Extra! : Fairy-tale News from Hidden Forest
    by Alma Flor Ada
  • The Furry News: How to Make a Newspaper
    by Loreen Leedy
  • The Great Moon Hoax
    by Stephen Krensky


  • Newspaper
  • Child-safe scissors
  • Large sheet of white paper
  • Glue stick
  • Crayons or markers

How Do I Do It?

    Collect Your Newspaper Words
  1. Explore a newspaper with your child. Identify the headlines, captions and bylines.
  2. As you explore, find the headlines your child likes best. For example, headlines with interesting words, creative phrasing, or familiar places and people.
  3. Cut out at least ten headlines, separating them word for word.
  4. Set these words aside.

    Build Your Mixed-Up Headlines
  1. Using your newly cut headline words, assist your child in rearranging them to create at least five new headlines.
  2. Be creative. Be silly. Experiment with different phrases.
  3. Have your child pick her favorite mixed-up headline. Glue the words at the top of a piece of paper, and invite your child to create a picture and a caption to go with her new headline.

Note: If a paper newspaper is not available, this activity can be adapted by using an online newspaper. Your child can print or copy the headlines, then follow the directions accordingly.

Take It Further

Using the cut-out words, have your child arrange them into parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. Return to your newspaper and use the remaining headlines to play a game of “I Spy.” Can your child spy a noun, a verb or an adjective?