Close Reading the Media: Literacy Lessons and Activities for Every Month of the School Year

Routledge/Taylor & Francis/. Dec. 2017. 154p. glossary. pap. $34.95. ISBN 9781138216020; Tr $125. ISBN 9781138216006.
Teens are inundated with messages from the media. However, they aren’t always aware of how their emotions are being manipulated, and they often grapple with finding credible sources for research projects and distinguishing truth from fiction. How do teachers show them how to make sense of it all? These lessons and activities answer that question with engaging and interesting lessons. A longtime proponent of media literacy, Baker combines timely lessons and pop culture resources. The material is divided by month, drawing students’ attention to relevant topics (in November, readers will find lessons on holiday toy ads; February includes an Academy Awards–related lesson). Each chapter offers background on a topic and several activities accompanied by many resources. Students will be engaged by analysis of Super Bowl ads, propaganda, political ads, product placement, and more. Baker demonstrates how students can analyze what’s behind the media they see and understand the reality. Most chapters contain website links as well as supplemental resources. While geared toward middle schoolers, the lessons are applicable to high school and most could be adapted to upper elementary schools, too. While a few resources are a bit dated, they are still useful.
VERDICT An outstanding resource for librarians and teachers intending to teach media literacy

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