In our media rich society, it’s more important than ever to help our students become critical consumers of media. According to Media Literacy Now, “the average kindergartener sees about 70 media messages every day. By the time they’re in high school, teens are spending more than 1/3 of their day using media.” (1) Here are 5 questions they can ask to help become more media literate.
1. What is this media message saying to me?
Cut through all of the distractors and identify the main message. Is the message clear?
2. Who created this message?
Who wrote this? Is there a bigger entity behind the writer?
3. Why did they create it? Who makes money from it and how?
Did the person get paid to write the message? If the person didn’t get paid directly, are there advertisers surrounding the message? How could they be persuading the person who wrote the message?
4. How does the message make you feel? How might it make other people feel?
Does the message make you feel strongly about something? Do you think it could make others feel strongly about something? Does it stereotype others?
5. What creative technique was used to attract my attention to this media?
Does it use catchy music or visuals? Is the headline alarming or does it make you curious?
By asking these questions, students will get to the heart of media messages and how they are constructed, and ultimately empower themselves to be better digital citizens.
(1) “What Is Media Literacy?” YouTube.com, Media Literacy Now, 17 Jan. 2017,