H loved the idea of getting a newspaper like his Dad. It makes him feel quite grown up. To be honest I’d been considering getting a First News subscription for him anyway, when they approached us and asked us to try it out. First News is essentially a weekly newspaper for children. It is about tabloid size and unlike most standard newspapers it’s held together with two staples, which I think is better for kids ( I can imagine H getting his issue into a bit of a mess quite quickly otherwise).
First News contains a mix of world news, UK news, but also the other things you find in newspapers like entertainment news, features, sport and puzzles/quizzes. H wasn’t keen on the sports pages, he’s not that type of boy, but I did point out to him that I didn’t expect to be interested in everything I read in a paper. In reality of the 28 pages in the editions we’ve had, only 2 pages were devoted to sport and it isn’t all just football either.
The paper is geared towards a child audience and H at 9 nearly 10 finds this pitched just right (the advertised age range is 7-14 year olds). I think he’d have been fine with it for the last couple of years too. It might be a good one for reluctant readers as none of the articles are very lengthy and there are plenty of pictures on every page. H felt there should be more about serious news stories like Syria, but actually there is coverage there. First News doesn’t shy away from the serious issues and on the world news page there are short articles about Turkey’s New Year’s party shooting, plus a snippet about Syria. There’s also a full-page special report about growing up in a war zone which is focused on Syria. It’s a delicate line to tread getting the balance right between covering the serious stuff and also keeping it as a good read.
Obviously, stories that have more interest to children have a greater prominence than they would in an adult’s paper. There are quite a few features about animals, there’s coverage of children’s books and TV programmes and even a comic strip. H liked that there was a page of puzzles, so there is a Sudoku, a Crossword, Spot the Difference, a Wordsearch and a What on Earth? (identify the detail), so there should be something for everyone. The answers to these are in the next edition so you have a week to work out the answers. I liked that there was a health feature and a careers section too.