"If he reads the newspaper, then the child will sleep."
Would this be an acceptable translation? The sentences given (with the present tense in the main clause) sounds very awkward to me.
Why is it not tờ báo? Is tờ not needed because độc already implies that a sort of document is meant?
Or is tờ just the classifier for báo? I always thought, only if they are both together they mean newspaper.
"tờ" is indeed a classifier for newspapers, magazines, (sheets of) paper.