Close Reading The Media

Literacy Lessons and Activities for Every Month of the School Year
by Frank W. Baker
Publisher: Routledge
Date:  2018
ISBN: 978-1138216006,  1138216003
160 pages
Chapter & lesson listing

Available from:
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Blackwell’sBooktopiaBooks-a-Million , Routledge, Target & Walmart
: Discount available from Routledge, using CODE MWEB1 to save 20%

Description: Teach middle school students to become savvy consumers of the TV, print, and online media bombarding them every day. In this practical book co-published by Routledge and MiddleWeb, media literacy expert Frank W. Baker offers thematic, timely lessons for every month of the school year, so you can engage students in learning by having them analyse the real world around them. Topics covered include critiquing the messages behind Super Bowl ads, Christmas toy commercials, fall political campaigns, and more. Through these lessons, students will learn to read the media more closely and will improve their critical thinking skills. The book also offers classroom-ready handouts you can use immediately.

Review (excerpts): 

“This book is engaging and relevant, extremely user friendly, and packed with helpful resources for teaching media literacy…. While the organization and resources may appeal most to the teachers who use this book, there is no doubt that the relevant and timely material will captivate and engage students. …Close Reading The Media by Frank W Baker is an incredible resource for any middle or high school humanities teachers looking to teach students how to think critically about the media they regularly consume.” Review of August 2019 by Stephanie Leary, Garrison Forest School, Maryland, posted at

“An outstanding resource for librarians and teachers intending to teach media literacy”
School Library Journal review, May 2019 

“Students will learn to think critically about photos, advertisements, and other media and consider the intended purposes and messages. …
‘Close Reading the Media’ featured lesson plans contain connections to key standards and step-by-step activities classroom teachers can use immediately…
With this practical instructional guide, teachers will have all the tools and ideas they need to help today’s students successfully navigate their media-filled world. ”
MidWest Book Review,  September 2018


“What student would not want to explore and deconstruct media messages from the latest TV season, Super Bowl ads, popular film, toy commercials, award shows, popular songs, news photographs, and MAD magazine cover parodies? Frank Baker makes essential media literacy concepts accessible, presents ideas to inspire creativity and offers practical strategies to hook young leaders in critical thought. Interdisciplinary and jam-packed with resources, important question checklists and engaging, relevant, standards-aligned ideas for active learning, Close Reading The Media is a timely go-to volume for classroom teachers as well as teacher librarians.”  Joyce Valenza, PhD, Assistant Teaching Professor, Rutgers University

“Fans of the amazing Frank Baker will be thrilled with this collection of Frank’s ‘greatest hits’! The lessons that Frank provides are so valuable and so needed by today’s teachers who are trying to help their students navigate our current roller-coaster media world. This book is arriving just in time–thank you, Frank!”  William Kist, PhD, Professor, Kent State University

About the author: Frank W. Baker is an educational consultant to the The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the Writing Improvement Network and the News Literacy Project. He is a blogger for MiddleWeb and a frequent presenter at school, districts, and conferences across the country, including SDE, IRA, NMSA, and NCTE. He has written teaching standards and supporting documents (ELA; Visual & Performing Arts) for the SC State Department of Education. He is the author of Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom (ISTE, 2016) and a contributor to Mastering Media Literacy with Heidi Hayes Jacobs (Solution Tree, 2013). He manages the Media Literacy Clearinghouse website ( as well as the recently-launched Close Reading The Media website. (

Share this page: