Learning in the 21st century increasingly requires everyone to be literate in multiple media "languages" in order to decode and understand messages and information. Researchers and scholars are working to understand and develop guides to help students and teachers understand and use these new literacies. Use the following readings, lessons and activities to learn more about Media Literacy and how you can apply it to your classroom.
Research-Based Readings on Media Literacy
Jamie Myers and Richard Beach
Read about how students have made use of technology tools in critical literacy activities to help achieve the paramount goals of language and literacy education: to enable students to develop critical consciousness and community agency through literacy. Examples of technology projects are embedded as links in this article.
Teachers can improve students' critical reading and viewing skills through interactive learning activities that make use of a wide range of nonfiction media, including film, television, print, and the Internet. Learn about four classroom learning experiences, appropriate for children aged approximately 12 and older, that are designed to facilitate careful analysis of the ways in which media messages are constructed in this article. Strategies for critically analyzing realism in nonfiction film and television and for evaluating the credibility of Web sites are emphasized.
[appears in Literacy and Technology, Volume II, edited by McKenna, Labbo, Kiefer, and Reinking (Erlbaum Associates).] The chapter reviews the intellectual traditions of visual literacy, information literacy, media literacy, and critical literacy and proposes a model for integrating the conceptual tenets of multimedia literacy.
Part of a two-year project funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies, the site articulates the skills comprising digital literacy with the goal of helping schools and districts implement a new approach to digital literacy teaching.
Media Literacy Activity Ideas
PBS Teachers suggestions for teacher-generated media literacy activities across all curriculum subjects.
This interactive site uses exercises to encourages students to actively read, question and discuss photographs and other documents in the study of modern America 1880-1920. The site works to build students' skills in analyzing primary sources, especially visual sources, and generate questions that students can pursue by searching in American Memory and other sources.
This Library of Congress site explores the devices political cartoonists use to persuade. Includes interactive exercises, guides and resources.
This ReadWriteThink lesson for high school students encourages students to learn to evaluate political cartoons for their meaning, message, and persuasiveness.
Digital Text and Media Sites
This website is a partnership of the International Reading Association (IRA), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and the MarcoPolo Education Foundation to provide educators and students with access to free-of-charge content regarding best practices and resources in reading and language arts instruction.
Search Project Gutenberg for links and downloads of free, public domain e-books.
An extensive collection of poets reading their own work. You can enjoy listening to the voices of contemporary English-language poets and of poets from the past. There are activities and materials specifically designed for teachers and for children.
Read, hear and see some of America's most famous rhetoric. This site includes speeches from politics, comedy, and popular culture. The database can be searched by decade, topic, or keywords.
Designed for high school and college teachers and students, History Matters serves as a gateway to web resources and offers other useful materials for teaching U.S. history.
The Library of Congress site for lesson plans, interactive and collaborative activities and primary sources.