Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom
by Frank W. Baker
(ISTE, 2012 – Learn more)
Reviewed by Jamey Cates
Wow! I was truly enlightened, energized and excited after reading Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom. With the push for more rigor in our standards and the technological advances in our media saturated world, this book was a breath of fresh air. In this wonderful resource, Frank Baker answers the questions of why and “how-to” that so many educators are asking about media literacy, and he does it on so many levels.
The book itself is very efficiently laid out and well written, and the resources Baker packed in are extremely helpful and teacher-friendly. The activities are doable without being a computer/technological wizard.
I think a lot of times teachers are afraid to step outside the box and use resources readily available that our students are already being saturated with in their daily lives. We tend to not see media as a gift — an educational tool — but rather a detriment to what we are trying to do in the classroom as we work to teach students to read and write. Baker shows us how we can put media to work in our schools and increase students’ media literacy skills as we do so.
In reading this book, I was reminded of my own children and what we would hear as we drove down the road on trips and listened to our boys read the billboards and signs flying by. Not only were they reading these advertisements, they were excited and constantly asking questions for clarification. How many of us who teach reading skills would like — for just one class period — to have all of our students excited about reading? This book opened my mind to new possibilities for engagement — using the media messages all around us to get the attention of our students once again.
Lessons ready to serve
Not only is this book refreshing, it offers actual lessons that can be implemented tomorrow. Baker points out the importance of analyzing AND creating media products and offers “how-to” ideas for accomplishing both of those objectives. He also correlates his lesson suggestions to content standards.
Within this text, teachers are given a guide for deconstructing and constructing media through the use of five key inquiry topics: authorship, format, audience, content, and purpose. Baker covers all types of media — from reading an ad, to deconstructing a magazine cover, watching a video, or deciphering a photograph.
With constructed responses coming in to play as the Common Core Standards are implemented, Frank Baker‘s Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom is definitely going to be an asset to my professional library. I recommend it highly.
Jamey Cates is a 7th grade Language Arts and Literature teacher at Northview Middle School in Kodak, TN. She’s been teaching for 15 years and enjoys helping young people develop a love for literature and writing. Jamey has an Ed. S. degree in Curriculum and Instruction and has been Northview’s Teacher of the Year. She and her husband Scott have four sons.