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Critical Readings of Magazine Advertisements

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1 Critical Readings of Magazine Advertisements
Roberta Linder, Ed.D. Aurora University Critical Perspectives Symposium presentation 52nd IRA Conference May 14, 2007 Toronto, Ontario, Canada

2 Young teens know what’s going on in magazine ads, right?
Not necessarily… Do not generally recognize the emotional appeal of the adsdo not think of the ads as having an “author” with a “purpose” Seldom reject or challenge the content of the ads (stereotypes, claims made in the ads) Can not always distinguish the ads from the articles of the magazine or determine the product being advertised Can not always explain what the text means or how it relates to the picture

3 Why provide reading instruction that uses magazine advertisements?
Magazines are a major source of information & advice for adolescent girls and provide information & entertainment for male readers (Zollo, 2004) Magazine advertisements provide a text which is appropriate for textual analysis (Buckingham, 2003)—making the familiar strange Close attention to detail Rigorous questioning Delay making judgments Provide evidence for views

4 Begin to understand that media texts have to be “read” like other texts
Students enjoy the analysis and production activities associated with the reading of magazine advertisements Teachers and students learn about each other and with each other as they engage in the activities Broaden students’ ideas of what constitutes “reading” Encourages students to begin examining the social, historical, and economic contexts of media texts

5 Utilizes texts from students’ out-of-school literacies
Helps students develop the types of critical reading skills that can be applied to media and non-media texts Provides students with opportunities to practice and apply important comprehension strategies Makes students more sensitive to the ways messages are conveyed through images and texts and how these messages privilege some groups and marginalize others

6 Four-tiered model of reading (Luke & Freebody, 1997)
Code breaker How do the sounds and marks relate, both singly and in combination? What are the patterns and conventions of this text? Text participant What are the cultural meanings and possible readings that can be constructed from this text? Text user How do the uses of this text shape its composition? What are my options and alternatives? Text analyst and critic What is this text trying to do to me? In whose interest?

7 How can teachers help students become critical readers of magazine advertisements and other texts?
Remember 5 Critical Questions to Analyze Media (Center for Media Literacy) Who is sending the message and what is the author’s purpose? What techniques are used to attract and hold attention? What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented in this message? How might different people interpret this message differently? What is omitted from this message?

8 Who is in the text / picture / situation? Who is missing?
What are you thinking about or feeling while you are reading? How are these thoughts and feelings influenced by your background, your experiences, and other texts you have read? What is the text asking you to think or feel? Do you agree with the point of view offered by the text? Why or why not? What events or points of view might have been left out of the text? What view of men / women does this particular text promote? How is this different from the views constructed in other texts? Why? Do you agree / disagree with the images presented? Why or why not? Kempe (2001) Who is in the text / picture / situation? Who is missing? Whose voices are represented? Whose voices are marginalized or discounted? What are the intentions of the author? What does the author want the reader to think? What would an alternative text / picture / situation say? How can the reader use this information to promote equity? McLaughlin & DeVoogd, 2004

9 Deep Viewing Media Analysis Framework (Pailliotet, 1999)
Level One: observe, identify, and describe elements in the medium being analyzed Level Two: respond, explore, and construct meaning using data gathered from level one observations to support their explanations Level Three: synthesize, extend, evaluate, and apply their knowledge


11 How can activities with magazine advertisements reinforce use of comprehension strategies?
Comprehension Process Definition Magazine advertisement activity Questioning Generate questions about the texts that have been read Write questions that remained at the conclusion of the exploration activity Write questions about the printed text and the visual text Identify & question their own responses to ad techniques

12 Definition Inferring Summarizing
Comprehension Process Definition Magazine advertisement activity Summarizing Synthesizing the most important data from the text content Using data gathered in exploration activity, summarize the findings Following deep viewing activity, summarize the things you found when analyzing your ad Inferring Using print and visual clues to draw a conclusion about underlying themes or ideas Constructing a web that discerns an ad’s target audience, advertising technique, purpose of author

13 Building on critical reading skills used with magazine advertisements
Apply the same types of questions to different types of media and non-media texts—short stories, novels, textbooks, newspapers, TV shows, movies, lyrics Apply the same types of comprehension strategies to different types of media and non-media texts—strategies need to be taught by teachers and practiced by students in order to become part of their reading repertoire Provide all readers with the skills to become text analysts and critics

14 References Buckingham, D. (2003). Media education: Literacy, learning and contemporary culture. Malden, MA: Polity Press. Luke, A., & Freebody, P. (1997). Shaping the social practices of reading. In S. Muspratt, A. Luke, & P. Freebody (Eds.), Constructing critical literacies: Teaching and learning textual practice (pp ). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press. Paillotet, A. W. (1999). Deep viewing: Intermediality in preservice teacher education. In L. M. Semali & A. W. Pailliotet (Eds.), Intermediality: The teachers’ handbook of critical media literacy (pp ). Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Zollo, P. (2004). Getting wiser to teens: More insights into marketing to teenagers. Ithaca, NY: New Strategist Publications, Inc.

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