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There clearly is a misunderstanding of what media and news literacy actually is.  Media literacy is not the bashing of the media but rather involves the teaching of critical thinking skills, understanding arguments, and learning how to analyze all forms of the media.  Teaching kids media literacy is more than just looking for political agendas and stereotypes, but that is a part of it.  Instead, we need to teach students fully about the media, all aspects of it, including the various types and the systems making them.  We need to teach students how to make arguments and how to understand logical fallacies.  True media literacy is the ability to examine claims from multiple positions and viewpoints.  It involves teaching the ability to use and watch media carefully while thinking critically.  Sadly most students and many adults do not have this skill.  This should be a huge concern for our society given how much time children and adults spend on social media and/or in front of a screen (TV, computer, or device).

Having skepticism is okay, especially in our times of high reliance on social media.  Scientists don’t believe everything people say as truth but rather make sure there is proof or evidence.  Everyone should have this same attitude.  We need to be open to new ideas but we also need to be able to examine claims and find evidence or proof.  We need to teach our children how to analyze the media they are exposed to.  We need to teach our children how to do research and analyze evidence.  Our children need to be critical thinkers.  Our children should be asking for evidence to support the claims they hear or see just as us adults do.  Thus, you will find lots of teaching resources in this post.

Here is some additional reading on the issue of news and media literacy:

Here are lessons or curriculum resources for teaching media literacy, in the home or in the classroom:

Here is a list of books to help teach children about media literacy (many of these are for students to read):

  • “Arthur’s TV Trouble” by Marc Brown
  • “The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Commercials” by Jan Berenstain
  • “The Berenstain Bears and Too Much TV” by Stan & Jan Berenstain
  • “Let’s Find Ads on TV” by Mari Schuh
  • “Learning About Ads” by Martha E. H. Rustad
  • “Hey Kidz! Buy This Book: A Radical Primer on corporate and Governmental and Artistic Activism for Short People” by Anne Elizabeth Moore
  • “Identify and Evaluate Advertising” by Valerie Bodden
  • “Let’s Think About the Power of Advertising” by Elizabeth Raum
  • “Does Advertising Tell the Truth?” by Aubrey Hicks
  • “Made You Look: How Advertising Works and Why You Should Know” by Shari Graydon and Michelle Lamoreaux
  • “The Thinking Toolbox: Thirty-five Lessons That Will Build Your Reasoning Skills” by Nathaniel Bluedorn
  • “The Fallacy Detective: Thirty-Eight Lessons on How to Recognize Bad Reasoning” by Nathaniel Bluedorn & Hans Bluedorn
  • “The Influencing Machine” by Brooke Gladstone and Josh Neufeld
  • “Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom” by Frank W. Baker
  • “Media Literacy” by Melissa Hart
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