Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Don't Throw Away That Junk Mail!

Cheree Brown


Students will use old junk mail to identify techniques used to attract and hold the reader's attention.


The student selects and uses prereading strategies that are appropriate to the text (such as discussion, making predictions, brainstorming, generating questions, and previewing) to anticipate content, purpose, and organization of a reading selection.

The student selects and uses strategies to understand words and text, and to make and confirm inferences from what is read, including interpreting diagrams, graphs, and statistical illustrations.

The student applies a variety of response strategies, including rereading, note taking, summarizing, outlining, writing a formal report, and relating what is read to his or her own experiences and feelings.

The student determines the author's purpose and point of view and their effects on the text.

The student identifies devices of persuasion and methods of appeal and their effectiveness.

The student analyzes the validity and reliability of primary source information and uses the information appropriately.


- An abundance of junk mail (will need enough for every student to have several pieces)
- A list of the techniques/appeals along with a description of each for each student (see attached file)


1. Save junk mail for about one month, or collect it from fellow teachers/staff. (Keep in mind you need enough for every student to get several least three each)
2. Make copies of handout on techniques for every student in your class.
3. Prepare some examples of junk mail to show students examples of a few advertising techniques that are used.


1. Ask students to identify all the techniques used in junk mail to attract and hold the reader's attention that they can think of.
2. Review the techniques on the handout with the students.
3. Students review the junk mail to become familiar with its techniques.
4. Students make informed judgements about what each piece of mail is offering.
5. Students answer the following questions for each piece of mail: A. What technique is the company using to sell the product? B. Is what the company is offering something you would want to purchase? C. What did you base your decision on? D. Did you base your decision on rational thinking instead of emotional appeal?


Have each student turn in the answers after completing the set of questions for at least three pieces of mail. Make sure the students are able to identify the techniques being used. This is a perfect opportunity to give feedback to the students in relation to reading skills. It is more important that the student is learning the reading skill than it is for them to -get a grade.-

Attached Files

This file is a copy of the student handout on advertising techniques.     File Extension: pdf

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