Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Media Literacy

Leslie Gortemoller
Bay District Schools


Media literacy is an important skill in reading different types of advertisements. Help your students learn how to read magazine ads and know what they are really saying.


The student writes questions and observations about familiar topics, stories, or new experiences.


-Sample magazine ads copied onto overhead sheets
-A copy of the Associated File for every student
-Overhead projector


1. Gather alcohol, cigarette, or tobacco company advertisements.
2. Make overhead copies of your ads.
3. Make class copies of the Associated File.
4. Obtain an overhead projector.


1. Place an overhead copy of a magazine ad on your projector. Ask: What is this an ad for? Based on this answer, ask the following questions:
*Does this ad make the product look bad for you?
*Does this ad make the product look like fun? What part of the ad makes it look like fun?

2. Explain to the class that advertisers want us to look at an ad and buy what they are selling. They know it might be bad for us, however, they must sell their product to make money. So, they have to make the ad look fun or good for us.

3. Say: I want to teach you another skill to help you read ads correctly. When we look at something-especially ads, we tend to look at the page from top left to bottom right. Notice our ad. Where is the warning in our ad? (When you choose an ad, be sure it has a warning label. They are usually located in the bottom left.) Explain to the students that the bottom left is where we look last, therefore, we might never pay attention to the warning label. Ask: Can you see how these advertisers are really trying to trick us?

4. Say: Now, I want you to try and read an ad on your own. Look at this overhead copy of another ad. Try to read it while you fill out the Diagram for Media Literacy (see Associated File). Explain that the diagram has questions that will help them understand how the article is trying to trick them.

5. When the students finish their diagrams, have them share with the rest of the class.


1. Formatively assess the students' observations (listed on the Diagram for Media Literacy, see Associated File) making sure that they are logical and appropriate.
2. As an additional formative assessment, note the students' questions and observations about the familiar topics (ads), and give any necessary feedback to the students concerning their observations.


The class assignment can be adapted to use with partners studying an individual ad. Each pair of students could have a different ad. You may want to laminate or cover your ads with page protectors.
Also, in K-2 grades this should be a whole group activity. It would work well to do the diagram as a whole group.

Attached Files

Diagram for Media Literacy.     File Extension: pdf

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