After the winter we endured, I hate to be the person to bring this up, but ... summer is winding down.

In four weeks, we'll be a third of the way through September and the children will be back in school for another year of learning.

That means it's time for us at The Citizen and auburnpub.com to start thinking about another year of the Newspapers in Education program.

NIE is a program offered at many newspapers throughout the country that aims to get the paper, in both print and digital forms, into the hands of local students for their use a learning tool in the classroom. The program is funded through the generosity of the community, much of it coming from readers. Through their donations, we're able to deliver papers to classrooms throughout the region.

A few days ago, Tim Ferris, our circulation manager, sent out forms and a letter to area schools inviting building administrators to share with their faculty information on how to sign up their classroom for NIE. Last year we had scores of local educators sign up, and hundreds of paper went to area schools. I'd love to see that grow in 2015-16.

There's all kinds of benefits to having an NIE classroom, but here are two that stand out for me:

• Giving students access to our content engages them in their community and beyond. They read stories in the paper and start to think about what it all means to them and their future.

• Having a newspaper or digital access to our electronic products gives children another outlet for one of the most important things they can do as a student: reading.

Much of the work NIE teachers do with their students involves having them read through the day-to-day content, but we also try to give them some customized stories. One feature that's been popular is an annual serial story that looks at an historical issue. Here's a preview of this year's serial story from New York News Publishers Association, which helps create much of the specialized NIE content:

"The 10th Annual Serial Story, 'When New York Was New' is currently being written by author Mike Peterson. The eight-chapter story will primarily focus on the 16th and 17th centuries, including figures such as John Cabot, Henry Hudson and Giovanni da Verrazzano in the south and Samuel de Champlain in the north, with discussion of the Iroquois Confederacy and how the coming of Europeans and the fur trade impacted the Haudenosaunee's existing conflict with other indigenous nations. The geographic, cultural and political formation of the state will also be covered, including the sorting out of Dutch, British and French claims and how — beyond the natural borders of the Great Lakes, Lake Champlain and connecting rivers — the borders of the state were established."

Donations for The Citizen's Newspapers in Education program can be sent to Newspapers in Education c/o The Citizen, 25 Dill Street. Auburn, NY 13021. Make checks out to The Citizen with "NIE" in the memo line.

Another way to help is by donating newspapers when you put in a temporary delivery stop. When you're planning to be away, just specify to customer service that you'd like your copies donated to NIE.

Thanks so much for helping NIE be a success in our community.

Executive editor Jeremy Boyer's column appears Thursdays in The Citizen and he can be reached at (315) 282-2231 or jeremy.boyer@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenBoyer

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