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Seven Media Literacy Lessons

October is National Information Literacy Awareness Month. While educators always teach their students how to find, access, and evaluate information, they can take a moment to remind their students what literacy means and inform them that October celebrates literacy.

While children are in school, they may want to discuss what they hear in the news, so it is important for educators to teach students media literacy, so when they hear or read stories from the media at home, they know exactly what to make of it. 

What is media literacy?

Media Literacy, according to the Center for Media Literacy, is " is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create media in a variety of forms." Media can be in the form of newspapers, online publications, advertisements, commercials, social media platforms, and more. 

In order to help students become literate in the world of media, EducationWorld has gathered a list of seven lesson plans, activities, books, and videos for teachers to use. 

  1. Media Smarts, an official website dedicated to providing resources for media literacy, created a list of six videos called Media Literacy 101 looking at key concepts. Each video comes with a lesson plan. Here is the introductory video and lesson plan. 

  1. PBS News Hour Extra - Classrooms can watch videos on latest news stories and teachers can lead meaningful discussions to help understand the significance of current events.
  2. The 5W's of a Newspaper Article: In this activity provided by Teachers Pay Teachers, students learn the concept of the 5W's: who, what, where, when and why in order to "gain valuable skills to apply when reading newspaper articles through both a group and individual activity." 
  3. Media Literacy Web Quest: This lesson plan is geared towards second graders and sends them on a web quest that will "ask students to read and think critically about some of the media sources they are familiar with."  Students will be required to "look closely at the purposes of the different kinds of media," and "look at the techniques used to create the different types of media and their messages" by completing three tasks. These tasks consist of exploring websites, watch a video, and looking at examples to gain media literacy. 
  4. Arthur's TV Trouble by Marc Brown: This book can teach younger students to be careful about what they see on television. Amazon says, "Arthur is duped by slick TV advertising into buying an expensive Treat Timer for his dog Pal. Using his hard-earned money for the purchase, he is disillusioned when the machine shoots treats all over the living room, frightening Pal in the process, and he vows never to be taken in again."
  5. The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Commercials by Stan & Jan Berenstain: Similar to Arthur's story, Amazon says, "Brother and Sister Bear are not greedy children, but all the toys and candy on TV look so great! Mama Bear has to find a way to teach her cubs that they can't believe everything they see before that pile of unused toys gets any bigger."

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor