Teaching Media Literacy to Middle School Students


The chart below shows the student expectations from the media literacy portion of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) middle school reading strand. This vertical format makes it clearer how the student expectations change and increase in sophistication across grade levels.
When studying these expectations, it is important to identify what students were taught previously, as well as the embedded skills within each expectation. Identifying these prerequisite skills will help teachers determine what scaffolds students will need to be successful. Beneath each expectation are questions for teachers to consider as they plan how to teach the expectation. Below the questions is a link to a page of resources that apply to the expectation.


TEKS: Reading/Media Literacy.

Students use comprehension skills to analyze how words, images, graphics, and sounds work together in various forms to impact meaning. Students are expected to:
Grade 6
Grade 7
Grade 8
13(A) explain messages conveyed in various forms of media;
13(A) interpret both explicit and implicit messages in various forms of media;
13 (A) evaluate the role of media in focusing attention on events and informing opinion on issues;
  • What forms of media will be used?
  • How will we teach students be to identify and explain the message conveyed?
  • What are implicit messages?
  • How do we recognize them?
  • How will we teach students to interpret these messages?
  • How does media focus people's attention?
  • What skills will students need to evaluate media's role in focusing attention?
  • How does media inform people's opinion on issues?
Resources for teaching students to identify and interpret media messages
Resources for focusing attention and forming opinion
13(C) critique persuasive techniques (e.g., testimonials, bandwagon appeal) used in media messages;
13(B) interpret how visual and sound techniques (e.g., special effects, camera angles, lighting, music) influence the message;
  • How can people recognize these techniques?
  • How does the use of these appeals affect the author's credibility and the plausibility of the message?
  • How do visual techniques influence a message?
  • How do sound techniques such as music influence a message?
  • How will we teach students to interpret the effects these techniques have?
Resources for teaching persuasive techniques
Resources for teaching how visual and sound techniques influence messages
13(B) recognize how various techniques influence viewers' emotions
13(C) evaluate various ways media influences and informs audiences;
13(C) evaluate various techniques used to create a point of view in media and the impact on audience
  • What techniques can be used to create emotional effects?
  • Why do people try to play on our emotions?
  • How does the use of emotional appeals affect the author's credibility and the plausibility of the message?
  • Is there ever a valid reason for appealing to an audience's emotions?
  • What criteria can be used to evaluate how media is influencing its audience?
  • What criteria can be used to evaluate how media is informing its audience?
  • How are techniques used to create a point of view in a media message?
  • How does one identify this point of view?
  • What effect does point of view have on the audience's understanding of the information presented in a message?
  • Why is it important to identify the point of view being created by media?

Resources for teaching emotional appeals

Resources for teaching how media informs and influences audiences

Resources for teaching point of view in media

13(D) analyze various digital media venues for levels of formality and informality.
13(D) assess the correct level of formality and tone for successful participation in various digital media.
  • What are various media venues?
  • What is meant by levels of formality?
  • How do these levels affect the audience's perception and understanding of the message?
  • How does the appropriate level of formality and tone differ across various media?
  • How is the audience affected when the correct level of formality and tone is not used?
  • What limitations, challenges do these levels of formality and tone place on those who are creating media messages?
Resources for teaching students to identify and assess levels of formality in media
Chapter 110. Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for English Language Arts and Reading