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Lesson Plan

Critical Media Literacy: Commercial Advertising

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Critical Media Literacy: Commercial Advertising

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Laurie A. Henry, Ph.D.

Laurie A. Henry, Ph.D.

Lexington, Kentucky


International Literacy Association



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Studying the influence of mass media on our lives allows students to view advertising in a new light. This lesson provides students with the opportunity to look at mass media in a critical way. Students become aware of the tremendous amount of advertising that they are exposed to on a daily basis. By looking at advertising critically, students begin to understand how the media oppresses certain groups, convinces people to purchase certain products, and influences culture.

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PBS Media Literacy "Getting Started" activity ideas: Students become "cultural investigators" in the area of mass media by participating in the activities suggested at this helpful site.

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Morrell, E. (2002). Toward a critical pedagogy: Literacy development among urban youth. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 46, 72-76.

  • Popular culture can help students deconstruct dominant narratives and contend with oppressive practices in hopes of achieving a more egalitarian and inclusive society.

  • The raising of critical consciousness in people who have been oppressed is the first step in helping them to obtain critical literacy.


Semali, L. (2001). Defining new literacies in curricular practice. Reading Online, http://www.readingonline.org/newliteracies/semali1/index.html.

  • Television literacy affirms the need to teach children how to read and interpret television messages, including advertising.

  • The time has arrived to broaden the canons of traditional education and the curriculum to include the expanding technologies of television, film, video, and computers.

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