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Lesson Plan

Magazine Redux: An Exercise in Critical Literacy

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 40-minute class sessions
Lesson Author

Valorie A. Stokes

St. Joseph, Missouri


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Session 1: Before Reading

Session 2: During Reading

Session 3: During Reading

Session 4: After Reading

Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Monitor, reflect on, and share insights about their impressions and experiences after reading both a print and an online magazine

  • Compare and contrast the structure and format of a print magazine versus an online magazine and delineate some of the factors that contribute to their similarities and differences

  • Compare and contrast their approach to reading a print magazine versus an online magazine and share insights and observations about their reading process for each media form

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Session 1: Before Reading

Explain to students that they are going to critically examine their reading of an online magazine and see how it compares to reading the print version.

Spread out various copies of the print magazines, which have an online counterpart (see the sample list of online magazines), and allow students 15 to 20 minutes to peruse them. Then ask students to identify the specific magazine (e.g., Sports Illustrated, Time) that they would like to use for their reading activities. Make note of their selections on a class roster. You might consider limiting the number of students per magazine for more reading variety within the class.

Using the Self-Portrait of a Reading Experience transparency, go through and explain the various items that students will address while they are reading the online magazine. Give students time to ask questions and request clarifications about the items before they begin reading and working independently.

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Session 2: During Reading

Have students navigate to their online magazine, assisting them as necessary and checking to make sure that they are viewing the correct website. Then invite students to begin reading the online magazine, at least the homepage and a few articles. Students should attempt to read as much of the online magazine as time permits and also read some of the advertisements. While reading, they should fill in their copy of the Self-Portrait of a Reading Experience handout. Give students the rest of the class period to read and record their responses on the handout while you walk around and observe and assist students who are struggling.

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Session 3: During Reading

If time in class is not available, this activity can be assigned for homework. Invite students to read a recent print issue (within the past three months) of the same magazine they were reading online. They should read the Table of Contents and at least a few articles and also read some of the advertisements in the magazine. Ask them to use sticky notes to make comments on the magazine's structure and format and their reading process. If they are not sure what to write on the sticky notes, tell them to refer to the Self-Portrait of a Reading Experience handout and cover most, if not all, of the same items. Ask students to place each†sticky note on the page of the magazine that relates to their response about a particular aspect of the format or their reading process.

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Session 4: After Reading

Have students use their completed Self-Portrait handout for the online magazine and their sticky note-filled magazine to complete this follow-up activity.

Ask students to use the interactive Venn diagram to compare and contrast:

  • The structure and format of each media form

  • Their reading process for each media form

Students will need to complete two Venn diagrams, each with one circle labeled as "Print Magazines" and the other circle labeled as "Online Magazines." The first diagram should be used to compare and contrast the structure and format of a print magazine versus an online magazine. The second diagram should be used to compare and contrast their reading process for each. Remind students to print out their Venn diagrams when finished.

Using the Venn diagram printouts, have students share insights they had and observations they made about both media forms and their reading process for each. Insights and observations may be as follows:

  • The content is typically similar in both forms, but the way the information is conveyed is different depending on the strengths of each medium.

  • The process for reading a print magazine differs from the process for reading online because of the conventions and constraints inherent in each form.

  • The features of each medium are different and often help or hinder the reading process.

  • The advertisements are usually the same or similar because of the target audience, but their format is usually different depending on the media form.

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  • Successful navigation to and through the various sites, as evidenced by the completed Self-Portrait of a Reading Experience handout

  • Completion of the Self Portrait handout for the online magazine and the sticky note comments for the print magazineórate each response or comment using a minus sign for weak, vague, or incomplete information; a check mark for sufficient or adequate information; and a plus sign for thorough and specific information

  • Printout of the interactive Venn diagram showing at least three differences and three similarities the student observed about the structure and format of each media form and his or her reading process for each

  • Teacher observation and anecdotal notes on the quality of insights and observations shared during class discussions

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