What newspaper does Atticus read in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Chapter 2 of "To Kill a Mockingbird," Scout disturbs her new teacher, Miss Caroline, who has entered Maycomb's school with fixed preconceptions about what first-graders should know.  When Scout is able to read from The Mobile Register, the teacher is appalled,

Now you tell your father not to teach you any more.  It's best to begin reading with a fresh mind...Your father does not know how to teach...."

Maycomb, Alabama, is in the far southern part of the state, not far from the port city of Mobile, which is the only large city in this part of the state.  The fact that Atticus reads this paper besides reading the town's little newspaper, The Maycomb Tribune, indicates his education and broad mind that is concerned with more than what happens in his small town.

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price7781 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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Atticus and Scout sit on the porch of their home each night and read The Mobile Register, an out-of-town newspaper from a larger city (Mobile, Alabama) than Maycomb. The Register would probably provide Atticus more accurate state, national, and international news than the small-town Maycomb Tribune. Atticus reads this newspaper to keep up with current events as a lawyer and state representative. Not only is the nightly reading of the newspaper a ritual and bonding moment for Atticus and Scout, but Atticus is also teaching Scout to read. In addition, Atticus is exposing Scout to life and issues outside the somewhat isolated Maycomb County. It’s another way for Atticus to teach Scout important lessons.

When Scout goes to first grade and Miss Caroline realizes Scout can read, she chastises Scout. Scout goes home and tells Atticus, and they agree that they will keep their nightly reading a secret to make things easier for Scout at school.

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