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What is Media Literacy?

Decipher the code - who is telling us what and  why?

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What Is Media Literacy?




Media literacy encompasses the skills and knowledge needed to question, analyze, interpret, and evaluate the messages of the mass media


How do I decipher those subliminal messages??? What are they trying to tell me??


Where do I need to use these skills??


Learn to apply critical thinking skills to the everyday messages conveyed in advertising, movies, television programs, music, radio talk shows, newspapers, magazines, posters, clothing, and the Internet.



Becoming Media Literate Through the 3 Rs



The 3 Rs -- review, reflect, and react -- can be applied to any message from any medium.


Consider each of these verbs.


To review: to examine, investigate, summarize, restate, identify, list, describe, explain, analyze, deconstruct, and study.

To reflect: to compare, contrast, personalize, apply, judge, opine, debate, critique, defend, and evaluate.

To react: to support, subscribe to, reject, internalize, participate in, copy, adopt, editorialize, and oppose.


Review the content of a message. After viewing a television comedy program, for instance, take time to think about the story, its message, the characters, the setting, the dialog, and so on. Some appropriate questions to ask are


  • How realistic was it?
  • Was there a moral?
  • Was some of the language offensive?
  • Was it realistic?
  • Was it entertaining?
  • How timely was the message?


Reflect on both the content and the format of the message. Take time to consider what the message was and why you reacted to it the way you did. Our personal beliefs, ideas, and opinions come into play when we evaluate any incoming message. After reading a magazine ad, for example, consider


  • Do I agree or disagree with the ad's statements?
  • What, if any, difference will it make in my life?
  • How do I feel about the content and the format?
  • Who was the intended audience? Was it directed at me?
  • Did the people in the ad represent me, my family, or my friends?
  • Did it encourage or offend me?
  • Who sponsored this message and why?
  • Is this information reliable?
  • Does it present a biased viewpoint?


React to the message.


  • What can I do to support this issue?
  • What can I do to oppose this project?
  • Should I buy that product?
  • Is this something I would like to know more about?


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