Media Literacy

11 posts

Media Literacy Week 2020

This year’s Media Literacy Week is October 26 – 30th. This yearly event is hosted by the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE), and aims to highlight the power of media literacy education and its essential role in education all across the country.

This year, the theme will celebrate one of the five components of media literacy’s definition each day of the week: Access, Analyze, Evaluate, Create, and Act.

Click this link to see the theme home page:

#MediaLitWk on Twitter has lots of great info and ideas.

5 Questions That Will Help You Become More Media Literate

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?”, Media Literacy Now, 17 Jan. 2017,

Podcast: “Representation and Critical Thinking in Media”

In 1988, the father of Michelle Ciulla Lipkin, was killed in the Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland. As a 17-year old girl in 1988, the only information she could get about her father’s death was from the news media. It wasn’t until 3 years had passed, when she went to Scotland and met the people who found her father’s body, that she hadn’t realized there was more to the story than what the media had told her.

Fast forward 31 years, and Michelle is the Executive Director of the National Association of Media Literacy Education (NAMLE), working to advance Media Literacy Education.

Recently Michelle told her personal story on the podcast The Woodshed (created and run by advertising agency Crispin, Porter, and Bogusky). Michelle explains, through the events of her past, how she learned to critically think about the information she was being fed by the media. In this story, we learn why Media Literacy Education is so important to her, and the ensuing conversation explains why it should be important to everyone.

Give it a listen:

**Please note, there are swear words in the theme song.

Media Literacy Week Reflection and Action

Last week was Media Literacy Week. What we gathered from the survey we sent out, is that teachers and librarians strongly feel that Media Literacy Education is important for our students. So what can we do to further push Media Literacy Education in schools? Take legislative action.

There are currently proposed bills in the New York Assembly and Senate:

  • Assembly Bill 2219 – School districts would be provided with a list of resources and instructional materials on media literacy.
  • Senate Bill 1104 – Required instruction in civics, civility and citizenship, including media literacy.
  • Assembly Bill 106 – Appointment of a media literacy advisory committee.
  • Assembly Bill 5981A – To study the teaching of digital citizenship, internet safety, and media literacy.

Read more about these bills here.

Senate Resolution J01888, which was adopted in June, proclaimed October 2019 ‘Information Literacy Month’ in the state of New York.

So what can you do?

Check out Media Literacy Now to advocate for Media Literacy Education in our state. This website will help you with any materials you need and provide you with information about Media Literacy and Media Literacy Education advocacy.

Media Literacy Week! (Day 5)

Friday, October 25th

This week is U.S. Media Literacy Week! The mission of the week is to highlight the power of media literacy education and its essential role in education all across the country.

This wraps up our week-long celebration of Media Literacy Education. We hope you’ve learned about Media Literacy, gained an understanding of how important it is for our students, and found some new activities or resources that are useful to you.

We encourage all of you to keep the momentum going. Media Literacy Education should be reinforced year round.

Use our Media Literacy LibGuide to help you find information for your teachers on a regular basis. This guide links out to information from:

This LibGuide will be updated periodically to add new resources as we find them.

Some excellent books to help you continue your learning are available in our Overdrive/SORA account:





(Ctrl-click the picture to open SORA. Select your school, and then log-in using your regular school credentials – as if you are logging into your school computer). Please take this Post-Assessment, and give it to your students to see if their thinking has changed over the course of this week. (Results will be sent out to our librarians next week. If you are not in our region, please contact Liesl.)

Lastly, if you feel strongly about this topic and its importance in schools, Media Literacy Now has put together this call to action. Click the image below to get to the website.




Please share this with those who are willing and able to support this federal legislation.


Thank you for participating in Media Literacy Week!

Media Literacy Week! (Day 4)

Thursday, October 24th

This week is U.S. Media Literacy Week! The mission of the week is to highlight the power of media literacy education and its essential role in education all across the country.

Remember PizzaGate: when headlines stated that Hillary Clinton ran a child sex ring out of a pizza shop in Washington, D.C.?

Fake news. But a lot of people believed it, at least for a little while. Then there’s the terminology, “Fake News”, being bandied about by politicians to denounce real news. Why?

There’s a major misunderstanding between fake news, truthful news, and biased news. It’s a lot to digest, especially for a young person who may have only recently begun reading the news.

Look at these four headlines. Can you tell which media outlet wrote them? Do you think your students could tell?

  • “More than half the House of Representatives support impeachment inquiry”
  • “Mike Pompeo Blasts House Democrats’ Impeachment Inquiry: ‘Silly Gotcha Game’”
  • “White House Unveils Lightly Edited Memorandum Of U.S. Constitution That Specifically Declares Trump’s Innocence”
  • “Pelosi Announces Impeachment Inquiry of President Trump”

(Click here for answers)

There are luckily a lot of activities available for teaching students how to tell the difference between truth and bias.

This video from Common Sense Media gives five tips for spotting fake news.

(If YouTube is blocked in your school, you can find the video here:

These infographics were created by #1: EasyBib (a Chegg service), #2: The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and #3: eavi Media Literacy for Citizenship. (Right click each and open hyperlinks for full versions)

1.    2.    3. 

This online article from EasyBib tells us how to spot fake news:


But what about understanding biases in media?

ad fontes media posts an interactive chart showing the reliability and general biases of the most popular media outlets. They include information about their ranking methodology and they update it regularly as things change. Find it here:

Students can take this News Lit Quiz by the News Literacy Project:








This poster is designed to help students understand opinion writing:







And when you’re completely overwhelmed, and tired from trying to navigate it all, you can always choose to watch (which was created by a teacher), Teen Kids News: (just be careful of the ads), (news explained in 10 minutes),

or wind down watching this clip of 5-year-old Noah Ritter on his local news in 2014:


Media Literacy Week! (Day 3)

Wednesday, October 23rd

This week is U.S. Media Literacy Week! The mission of the week is to highlight the power of media literacy education and its essential role in education all across the country.

So far this week we have learned what Media Literacy is, examined our own media usage, and gained an understanding that all media messages are constructed. We also learned that the authors of those messages have a purpose for sending those messages and usually something to gain from them.

Today, we’ll discuss stereotypes in media messages and how to teach students to recognize them. We are all familiar with librarian stereotypes. Just type the word “librarian” into a Google Image search, and it returns a multitude of mostly white, mostly female, glasses-wearing, book-carrying, sometimes shushing images. Luckily librarians are trained to deal with this type of thing, and many of us have embraced this stereotype as a long-standing tradition. (See Nancy Pearl Librarian Action Figure, “With Amazing push-button Shushing Action!”). –>

Stereotypes are exaggerated beliefs about a person or group of people. By learning more about stereotyping and how to identify it in media messages, students will learn to understand their own exaggerated beliefs and perceptions.

Renee Hobbs, a professor and founder of the Media Education Lab, offered this activity idea in her twitter feed:

This activity can be adapted to have students re-design advertisements, reshoot commercials, or redevelop websites. Get creative! You can also use these resources compiled by Frank W. Baker’s Media Literacy Clearinghouse:

See if your students can identify a stereotype in a form of media and bring it in to you tomorrow.

Media Literacy Week! (Day 2)

Tuesday, October 22nd

This week is U.S. Media Literacy Week! The mission of the week is to highlight the power of media literacy education and its essential role in education all across the country.

Yesterday we discussed Media Literacy: what it is, why it is important, and how we would use this week to jump-start our understanding. We asked our educators and students to answer some questions about the media they are consuming on a daily basis. This was to help them gain an awareness of the media that is all around them and what choices they are making in how they are accessing it.

Today we will focus on media messaging. The first lesson in becoming media literate is always this


Let’s get your students to think about the messages they hear in the media. Show them an ad.

Have them think about who is sending the message. Is it a company? Is it a political party or candidate? Have them consider why they might be sending the message. Is there a chance of monetary gain? Who might gain from the message? Once they understand this, you can have them think about who the intended audience is. Are there any unintended consequences of a message like this?

Show this presentation (from Jaclyn Siegel) and have them answer the questions from slides 2 and 7:

After looking at a few different ads, websites or articles, ask them if they have seen a difference in their thinking when viewing media messages.

Media Literacy Week!

Monday, October 21st

This week is U.S. Media Literacy Week, hosted by the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE). The mission of the week is to highlight the power of media literacy education and its essential role in education all across the country.

We will help you celebrate this important set of skills by providing you with resources and lesson plans to help you educate your students on how to handle the flood of information that hits them every day. We will include information on advertisements, stereotypes, and truth and bias.

What is Media Literacy?

The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) defines media literacy as the ability to ACCESS, ANALYZE, EVALUATE, CREATE, and ACT using all forms of communication.

At its most basic level, media literacy is the ability to read media messages, analyze the meaning behind it, who it is coming from, and why they are sending it out into the world.

The video below by Alicia Haywood helps to explain what Media Literacy is and why it is so important.

How can we celebrate this week and educate our students?

All week we will be sending activities and resources for you. Today, start by pre-assessing yourself and your students. Fill out this brief survey, and have your student fill it out too. This will give us some baseline data, and your students will think about what types and how much media they engage with on a daily basis.

We will send the results out to the librarians in our region tomorrow. If you are not located in our region, please contact Liesl.

*Click here for the Media Literacy Week Toolkit from NAMLE.

FYI – Individual membership to NAMLE is free. We encourage you to join!