Evaluating Our World: Media Literacy and its Place in the Classroom

Developed by Emily Silva, Spring 2007

Baker, Frank W. To Kill a Mockingbird: Seeing the film through the lens of film language and media literacy. 2006. 6/1/07. .

This is a wonderful website for anyone reading the classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Often times this book is taught in a high school classroom and accompanied by the film. This website allows for an in-depth look at the film by listing the core concepts and key questions of media literacy. Although the website is dedicated to the film version ofTo Kill a Mockingbird, the core concepts and key questions can be used for any type of media.

Croteau, David, Hoynes,William. Media/Society: Industries, Images, and Audiences. London, UK: Sage Publications, 2003.

Like many of the books on media literacy available, this one gives resources and enables its readers to form their own opinions about the media and its messages. Much more of a textbook, Croteau and Hoynes cover everything from politics influence on the media to gay and lesbian representation in the media. Because this book takes on so many areas of media literacy it is one of the most comprehensive books out there. Organized into parts and chapters this book has something for everyone. There are areas of the book that seem like they have little or no place in a classroom but can be useful in other areas such as advertising.

Goodman, Steven. Teaching Youth Media: A Critical Guide to Literacy, Video Production, & Social Change. NY, NY: Teachers College Press, 2003.

This book provides some interesting ways to teach media literacy to students. Goodman gives wonderful examples of how to incorporate media literacy in the classroom and how understanding the media can help promote social change. This book would be great to pair with Krueger and Christel’s Seeing and Believing, especially if a project is in need of more examples of video production and incorporating it into the classroom.

Hobbs, Renee. Reading the Media in High School: Media Literacy in High School English. New York: Teachers College Press, Teachers College, Columbia University, 2007.

This book, which was written by one of the pioneers of Media Literacy, is a true gem. In a world that bombards its inhabitants with visual and audio messages, the impact of the media on adolescents is huge. This book is a great tool for any secondary ed. teacher interested in promoting/teaching media literacy. Hobbs has written a book that provides evidence of the impact of the media on youth and that is accessible and can be easily implemented into all high school classrooms. From understanding popular culture to mass media messages this book is a wonderful tool to help improve the media literacy practices of high school students.

Hunt Tiffany, Hunt Bud. “Research and Authority in an Online World: Who Knows? Who Decides.” English Journal 95.4 (2006): 89-92.

This article focuses mainly on incorporating multi-genre projects into the classroom and teaching students how to effectively read the internet. This is one of the first sources to incorporate the use of blogs in the classroom and discuss how blogging can increase the opportunity for student to write for various audiences. The article also focuses on how to teach students to read the internet and evaluate internet sources when the information and data is always changing. This article is more focused on the internet and reading and evaluating the internet sources versus a broad spectrum of media literacies. This is a great article written by teachers, for teachers who are looking for information on internet literacies specifically.

Krueger Ellen, Mary T. Christel Seeing & Believing. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook Publishers, Inc., 2001.

This book emphasizes the value of teaching media literacy in a world that is full of visual images. Not only is the media everywhere, but in order to understand the images that bombard our lives we must be able to think critically about them. Krueger and Christel have written a book that encompasses the basics of media literacy and comprised them into activities and lesson plans that can be implemented in the classroom. The authors of this book show how media literacy can be applied to writing strategies, works of literature, critical literacy skills, and analyzing media production. This is a great book for anyone interested in media literacy. With ideas, activities, lesson plans, and diagrams this is one of the more accessible and readable books on media literacy that is out there. Since this book is so readable and accessible it can be implemented in many educational communities. At the end of the book there is a “Resouces for Teachers” section that includes a comprehensive bibliography of helpful books, from Advertising to Videography, this bibliography has it all.

Masterman, Len. Teaching the Media. Oxford, UK: Routledge, 1990.

In his book Masterman answers the question “why teach the media?” through a series of chapters from why, to how we can teach the media. This book discusses issues from how to determine audience to incorporating the media into a classroom. Although this book is a wonderful tool for teachers interested in teaching media literacy to adolescents it is designed to read much more like a textbook than a guide. Some of the language, such as “pedagogy” is not necessarily user friendly to those a bit less versed in the rhetoric. However, the author of this book is extremely credible and has also written a book titled Teaching about Television.

Muller, Valerie. “Film as Film: Using Movies to Help Students Visualize Literary Theory.” English Journal 95.3 (January 2006): 32-38.

This is a brief article that discusses using media literacy as a way to teach literary theory. Using examples from the book and movie, Moby Dick, Muller sheds light on ways of incorporating film into a classroom. Rather than read a text and watch the movie based on the text, Muller gives her students the chance to take it another step, using film as a means to understand literary theory by discussing camera angle, music, lighting, mood, etc. So often secondary education English teachers are tempted to have their students read a text, watch the movie, and then write a compare/contrast essay. This article makes incorporating literary theory seem easy and accessible by using media literacy.

Potter, W. James. Media Literacy. 3rd ed. Sage Publications, 2005.

Potter does a nice job of emphasizing the importance of learning how to read the media by unwrapping all of its messages in this book. Once the media messages are unraveled you can then form opinions and beliefs about what is being said. There are many current examples with different exercises and a resource CD included in the third edition. One downfall with this book, especially for those interested in secondary education, is that it is definitely focused more towards those pursuing higher education. The language, exercises, and examples that Potter uses are definitely geared more toward college students. This would be a great book to use as a textbook in a university level class.

Trier, James. “Representations of critical media literacy in the film Pump up the Volume.” Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy 49.7 (April 2006): 622-625.

This article focuses on media literacy within one particular film. Pump up the Volume is used in classrooms to show the use of freedom of speech and how one student’s radio program morphs into the student population practicing critical media literacy. The author of this article suggests using this film while also reading Giroux’s (1996) chapter on radio pedagogy or Buckingham and Sefton-Green’s (1994) book. Included at the end of the article is a list of helpful references that will help those wanting to learn more about media literacy. One negative thing about this article is that it spends a lot of time summarizing the film and not as much time discussing the ways to use the film in the classroom. This article is definitely a good resource as an introduction to critical media literacy.

Wan, Goufang. TV Takeover: Questioning Television. Fact Finders, March 2007.

This book is included in a series on media literacy by Goufang Wan. These brief (32 page) books are a great way to get its readers interested in media literacy. Incorporated are tools to give students and readers the power to understand and evaluate the messages that are presented before them on a daily basis. This book gives its readers the strength to formulate their own understanding and opinions and enables them to question these messages. The best part about this book is that it is written for a younger audience and uses accessible language which makes it easier to implement into many types of classrooms and homes. Wan is also the author of Virtually True: Questioning Online Media, which is another book that allows its readers to question and evaluate online media messages and sources.