Lesson Plan: Using Magazines for Media Literacy
written by: Debra M. Bumgarner, MLIS   School Librarian   Meadow Glen Elementary School   Lexington, SC

MATERIALS NEEDED: Magazines (front covers and advertisements), projector screen and
projector, paper and coloring materials or iPad/computers for assessments

Communication (C) Meaning & Context (MC)
Standard 2: Articulate ideas, claims and perspectives in a logical sequence using information,
findings, and credible evidence from sources.
Grade Four
2.2 Discuss the purpose and the credibility of information presented in diverse media
and formats.
Grade Five
2.2 Analyze the credibility of information presented in diverse media and formats
Standard 3: Communicate information through strategic use of multiple modalities to enrich
understanding when presenting ideas and information.
Grade Three
3.1 Compare how ideas and topics are depicted in a variety of media and formats.
3.2 Create presentations using video, photos, and other multimedia elements to support
communication and clarify ideas, thoughts and feelings.
Grade Four / Grade Five
3.1 Compare and contrast how ideas and topics are depicted in a variety of media and
Inquiry Based Literacy Standards (I)
Standard 3: Construct knowledge, applying disciplinary concepts and tools to build a deeper
understanding of the world through exploration, collaboration and analysis.

1) Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge. (especially the following indicators)
1.1.1 Follow an inquiry-based process in seeking knowledge in curricular subjects, and
make the real-world connection for using this process in own life.
1.1.5 Evaluate information found in selected sources on the basis of accuracy, validity,
appropriateness for needs, importance, and social and cultural context.
1.1.9 Collaborate with others to broaden and deepen understanding.
1.2.4 Maintain a critical stance by questioning the validity and accuracy of all
1.3.1 Respect copyright/intellectual property rights of creators and producers.
1.3.2 Seek divergent perspectives during information gathering and assessment.
1.3.4 Contribute to the exchange of ideas within the learning community.
1.4.3 Monitor gathered information, and assess for gaps or weaknesses.
2) Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create
new knowledge.
2.1.1 Continue an inquiry-based research process by applying critical thinking skills
(analysis, synthesis, evaluation, organization) to information and knowledge in order to
construct new understandings, draw conclusions, and create new knowledge.
2.1.2 Organize knowledge so it is useful.
2.1.5 Collaborate with others to exchange ideas, develop new understandings, make
decisions, and solve problems.
2.1.6 Use the writing process, media and visual literacy, and technology skills to create
products that express new understandings.
2.2.4 Demonstrate personal productivity by completing products to express learning.
2.3.1 Connect understanding to the real world.
3) Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our society.
3.1.1 Conclude an inquiry-based research process by sharing new understandings and
reflecting on the learning.
3.1.2 Participate and collaborate as members of a social and intellectual network of
4) Pursue personal and aesthetic growth.
4.3.1 Participate in the social exchange of ideas, both electronically and in person.
I can apply critical thinking skills to evaluate the purpose, message, and intended audience, for
a magazine publication.
I can exchange ideas, develop new understandings, make decisions, and solve problems with
my classmates to further my knowledge on media design and advertising.
I can collaborate on a final magazine cover design product with my peers.
Use an available magazine cover and ask students the questions listed below. You may want to
read up on magazine cover lingo and purpose of formatting prior to this lesson by going here:

Have students consider the following about the front cover as a class:
1. Why do you think the cover looks it does?
2. Magazines are targeted at certain age groups, people, even men/women. Who is the
audience for this magazine? What clues do you see that make you think that?
3. What verbal messages are being communicated?
4. What non-verbal messages are communicated?
5. Front covers are advertisements in itself. What about this magazine cover would draw
6. How do you think magazines make money and continue to be published?
7. Who benefits from the purchase of a magazine? Examples include publisher, printer,
writers, designers, photographers, models, graphic artists, mailing service, stores selling
magazines, advertisers who convince you to buy their product, even companies that
recycle paper!

Here is a front cover exercise from Frank Baker at Media Literacy Clearinghouse that can be
Using advertisements , have students consider these questions (from source):
1. Who is the creator of the message?
2. What is the purpose of the message?
3. Who is the audience for the message?
4. What techniques are used to get and keep attention?
5. Who or what might be omitted and why?
6. Who benefits from the message?

Summative Assessment: Have student groups create a magazine cover for a topic of their
choosing using an app or website (ask for a good option) or paper and coloring materials.
Create a rubric that lists items that each cover should include.
Online idea (NEED TO PILOT FIRST):

Another Summative Assessment Idea: Combine the research element with the media literacy
element by having students use a magazine with a topic they choose (TIME For Kids would be a
great one). Ask students to create a comic using Pixton (an online comic generator) to
demonstrate how the front cover would grab the attention of a reader, why the topic is
important to the reader, what the reader would learn from the magazine, etc.

Lesson Source(s) :
Frank Baker, “The 15-minute Media Literacy Lesson Plan”,

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