Smart Review | Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom

This updated and expanded second edition of Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom by Frank Baker could not have come at a better time. Now more than ever, students must be media literate. They have to know how to understand pictures, words and movies. They have to know the difference between THE media and media.

In this book, Baker provides an extensive resource for teachers. The first section of the book aims to teach teachers about media literacy, defining media literacy and the ‘big ideas’ inherent in it. The why of media literacy is also discussed.

And as an educator, Baker knows the importance of curriculum standards. He includes the Common Core standards media literacy addresses as well as some state standards. Baker addresses the pedagogical concepts of media literacy.

But most importantly, he tells teachers how to get started. He provides a framework teachers can use. Actually, he provides four frameworks teachers can choose from:

  1. The TAP (Text, Audience and Production) Questioning Model
  2. The BFI (British Film Institute) UK Model
  3. Canadian Key Concepts & Approach
  4. Center for Media Literacy & the U.S. Approach

I loved this because teachers have the freedom to choose one that works best for them and their students, and each framework is well documented and researched.

The second section of the book addresses the three components of media literacy: visual literacy, advertising and moving images. Baker recommends teaching media literacy in that exact order:

1. Visual Literacy. Beginning with visual literacy is imperative. If students can not interpret pictures, they will struggle to understand advertising and movies. Here again, Baker provides the standards that teaching visual literacy will address. In addition to teaching about photography itself, Baker also discusses the manipulation of photos. Baker also addresses visual literacy from a political perspective. Baker provides activities to help students analyze magazine covers. He rounds out the chapter by discussing cartoons and graphic novels.

2. Advertising. In this age of social media, the lines between advertising and information are often blurred. Students must know how to spot the difference. Baker provides information to help teachers educate students on how advertising works. This section includes information on traditional advertising, web 2.0 advertising and product placement.

3. Moving Images. Finally, Mr. Baker tackles moving pictures. He discusses the components of moving images and point-of-view as well as persuasion techniques in commercials. He then moves to news literacy, a critical subject right now, and then on to moviemaking techniques and vocabulary. He shows teachers how to help students analyze docu-drama movies and compare them with the real events that inspired the movies.

The final section of the book is appendices. Baker provides media literacy references, a glossary, references and the ISTE International Society for Technology Education (ISTE) standards. But truly, the entire book is full of resources. Mr. Baker provides websites on nearly every page. He includes lesson plans to assist teachers. His website ( is an excellent resource for teachers who want to teach media literacy. This book is all you need to get started!

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Aimee Bartis Author

Aimee Bartis

Aimee Bartis is a veteran teacher and an Educational Technology Specialist in Texas.

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Shivani Thummar

media literacy is a healthy perspective to think over. I personally think that more the innovation in the schools or institutes more the interest in any of the activity by the students. Also, our school has gone for this idea using where there is media literacy as in many ways, especially student management system and many integrations.

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Paresh Mathukia

Nice article, very informative. As per my point of view majority of kids can learn rapidly, If teachers use pictures to teach them instead of text. on the contrary some kids can learn text very well and can not understand pictures. To track the record of all the students and their weakness there are many student management software are available in market. School ERP Software can reduce time of teachers.

Abhishek Gupta

Nice article, Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom is very important For Youth

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