News, a big part of teens’ reading diet

Ardent follower: Be it in print or online, The Star newspaper is a constant in Shinz Jo’s daily routine.

From young reader to budding journo

ONE hot afternoon, a seven-year-old picked up a newspaper lying on the floor of her grandma’s house.

Out of boredom, she flipped through it until a brightly-coloured page caught her attention. It was filled with comics.

Feeling tickled by some of the cartoon strips, she laughed out loud and continued skimming the other pages.

Little did she know that the newspaper would go on to play an influential role in her life.

Starting out as a young reader of The Star, I often made a beeline for the comics section and various human-interest stories, and skipped any pages detailing current issues for I found them too tedious to read.

It wasn’t until my father noticed that I always finished reading the paper in record time that he realised I had been missing out on the most important part of a newspaper – the news.

In a bid to ensure I would never skip any part of the newspaper again, he would routinely do “spot checks” by asking me to explain the story behind a headline, or to name three issues highlighted in the paper on that day.

Back then, I sulked and forced myself to read every single page. But I began to realise how beneficial this was when I joined my secondary school’s debate team.

I found myself able to discuss and debate extensively on various issues with ease as if what The Star had published over the years had been ingrained in my mind.

At the same time, I found myself wondering what happened behind the scenes to produce the news articles I was reading every day.

I knew journalism was more complex than the usual essay-writing I was familiar with. Thankfully, I found my answer in The Star’s BRATs Young Journalist Programme in which I have been a participant since 2018.

Before long, I was scouting for potential interviewees and writing interview pieces. I even got the opportunity to intern at Menara Star in Selangor. And all of this started with a simple hobby of reading.

It has been 10 years since I picked up my first copy of The Star, yet I still find myself poring over its pages every morning.

From turning the pages spread out on the dining table to pressing my laptop’s arrow key to “flip” the ePaper, reading news from The Star will always be one of the few constants in my daily routine.

I look forward to seeing how it will manifest its influence on the next generation of readers. – By OOI SHINZ JO, 17, Penang

Cherished activity: Nur Alia (second from left) says reading The Star with her friends is a precious part of her secondary school years.Cherished activity: Nur Alia (second from left) says reading The Star with her friends is a precious part of her secondary school years.

Enjoyable classroom companion

LIVING in a boarding school where students are not allowed to use smartphones does not give me the luxury of scrolling through my social media feeds to catch up on current happenings.

Luckily, my school provides newspapers for its students, where each class receives a copy of The Star daily.

My classmates and I take turns to get our hands on the newspaper. Still, getting a turn to read it is almost akin to grabbing a concert ticket for the biggest boy band in the world.

As I step into my classroom every morning, the first thing I would do is to look for the newspaper.

At this point, I am accustomed to the disappointment of finding that a few people have called dibs on the newspaper before me.

Impatient, I would sometimes sit beside the person holding the paper and skim its contents as she flips through it.

Nonetheless, I don’t blame my classmates for enjoying reading news from The Star. With its eye-catching graphics and informative updates, reading the newspaper is an enjoyable part of our routine.

Not just that, the contents of the newspaper aid in our learning as they offer coverage on national and international issues, and a broad spectrum of themes which include health, economy and education.

These topics are as important as the ones highlighted in our school syllabus, further aiding us in attaining higher-order thinking skills – a key component of 21st century learning.

At times when our favourite artistes are featured, my classmates and I would find ourselves on the verge of war just to obtain a cut-out of the artistes.

I would even walk over to other classes to ask for the pictures, but I would often return empty-handed.

At the end of the day, when everyone has read the newspaper, the copy would oftentimes not end up in the recycle bin in a piece.

A friend would have cut out the Sudoku section while other friends would have taken out a page or two for their scrapbooks. I too would have cut out some quotes from articles I find inspiring.

Believe it or not, reading The Star with my friends is a precious part of my secondary school years.

The Star, thank you for being a constant companion in my teenage years! – By NUR ALIA IRDINA, 17, Negri Sembilan

Weekend pastime: It was his father’s love of the newspaper that influenced Gurjit to find joy in reading it.Weekend pastime: It was his father’s love of the newspaper that influenced Gurjit to find joy in reading it.

Father-son bonding tool

MY weekends often start with this warning from my mother: “Gurjit, the newspaper is here. You’d better come down and collect it. Don’t make me go upstairs to wake you up!”

In response, I would quickly drag myself out of bed and hurry downstairs because I don’t want to get into my mum’s bad books.

After I have collected the newspaper from the delivery guy, I would unravel the rubber band and there right before my eyes would be the huge front-page headline of The Star. But being me, I would dive right into the comics section.

My earliest memory of The Star is watching my father read the newspaper on the sofa. My curiosity piqued, I asked him what he was reading. That was when he introduced me to it.

The Star has been my father’s choice of newspaper from young and now, it has become mine.

It is a medium in which my father and I use to strengthen our bond. We often find interesting topics to talk about based on the articles featured.

My grandfather also reads The Star and he likes collecting interesting information like historical timelines. Whenever he visits me, he would share the cuttings with me.

Apart from reading it for entertainment, information and bonding sessions with my father, I use the newspaper as a tool to improve my English language proficiency.

The more I read the articles written by journalists, the more styles of writing and commonly used phrases I get to pick up.

This has helped me express myself better in my English language examinations, as well as broadened my perspectives and general knowledge.

It was my love of reading The Star newspaper that motivated me to apply for the Brats Young Journalist Programme at the end of last year.

It has always been my dream to see my name and article published in The Star, and I’m really glad to have been given the opportunity to do so.

I would like to thank the journalists and editors at Star Media Group for the many benefits I have gained from being a reader and budding writer of The Star.

Keep up the good work and Happy 50th Anniversary! – By GURJIT SADU SINGH, 15, Pahang

Shinz Jo, Nur Alia and Gurjit are participants of the BRATs Young Journalist Programme run by The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (Star-NiE) team. Throughout the year-long programme, participants aged between 14 and 22 from all across the country experience life as journalists, contributing ideas, conducting interviews, and completing writing assignments. They get to earn bylines, attend workshops, and extend their social networks. To join Star-NiE’s online youth community, go to

The newspaper is a handy resource to keep us informed on the latest events and issues happening in the country and the world. It is also filled with information that serves to entertain, inspire and delight its readers.

1. How well do you know The Star newspaper? Flip through your entire copy of Sunday Star today. Can you find these sections?

Nation World Sport Lifestyle Comics Horoscope Health Obituary Weather Sudoku Dear Thelma

How long did it take you to look for the sections above? Did you come across any other sections? Name them.

2. As you flipped through the newspaper while doing the activity above, did any item attract your attention? For example, it could be a particularly eye-catching photograph, or an attention-grabbing headline. Or was it an advertisement that momentarily took your mind off the task? Take some time to reflect on your experience. Did the item(s) serve the purpose of informing, entertaining, inspiring or delighting you as a reader?

3. Just as many netizens take to Pinterest or other social media platforms to save all kinds of information, why don’t you start a scrapbook where you keep information from The Star that serves different purposes? Get your friends or family members to do the same so that by the end of each week, you can share your Top Five findings or collections with each other. Even better, rope in your teacher or English language society!

4. The newspaper is also a good place to build your word bank. For a start, read the three articles written by the BRATs young journalists on this page. Were there any words or phrases that stood out for you? Cut them out and paste them in your scrapbook! Look for the meanings of the words in a dictionary if you have difficulty understanding them. Write down the meanings and make a conscious effort to use these words in your daily life.

5. Are you an ardent reader of The Star just like our BRATs young journalists? Ask a friend or family member to take a creative photograph of yourself posing with the newspaper or ePaper, and email it to us at with a caption of not more than 150 words telling us about your reading journey with The Star. Remember to provide your full name, age and the state you are from. By submitting an entry, you stand a chance of being featured on this page!

Since 1997, The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (Star-NiE) programme – with the Education Ministry’s endorsement – has supported English language teaching in primary and secondary schools nationwide. Through Star-NiE’s teacher and student workshops, annual contests and monthly English language resources for classroom use, participants of the programme have reportedly shown marked interest in the language and progress in their proficiency. Starting this month, Star-NiE will continue its role of promoting the use of English language through a weekly activity page in StarEdu. These activities are suitable for use individually and in groups, at home and in the classroom, across varied proficiency levels. Parents and teachers are encouraged to work on the activities with their children and students. In addition, Star-NiE’s BRATs Young Journalist Programme will continue to be a platform for participants to hone and showcase their English language skills, as well as develop their journalistic interests and instincts. Recruitment for the BRATs 2022 programme will start in November. Follow our updates at For Star-NiE enquiries, email

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