Media, Literacy And Literature


Created by: Arlene Liwanag (PED 3177A)

"Media study does not replace text. It broadens and deepens our understanding of texts." Philip M. Anderson, "Visual & Verbal Thinking" in Media Literacy, A Reader.


The objective of this wiki is to allow teachers and educators a resource for teaching strategies and key concepts of media literacy and literature within English classrooms. It provides:
  • definitions of media literacy from different writers and researchers
  • mini lesson plans which incorporate media
  • experiences from university students and professors
  • resources for teachers to use, which go beyond this wiki page

What is Media?

“The means of communication, as radio and television, newspapers, and magazines, that influence people widely”. ( Media surrounds us everyday, in our work and at home. It has the character which influences the people in its society. It allows its viewers and readers to know what surrounds them, whether it is present or old information. Technology and media are productions humanity has adapted to and is now a large part of our lives.

The Canadian Council in learning quotes, "in 2004, Canadian children aged six to 11 spent an average of two hours per day in front of a screen of some kind (including computers, video games, and televisions), while adolescent children between the ages of 12 and 17 logged an average of nearly three hours per day" (page 2). This example portrays the amount of time our children use media. It has impacted their lives in today's society, therefore instead of looking at it from a negative point of view, why not incorporate it in our studies? It surrounds us regardless because our society chose media to be a means of communication, which has turned into an addiction in some cases, but bringing those aspects into English classrooms can be beneficial and resourceful.


Media Literacy

Media literacy is the ability to sift through and analyze the messages that inform, entertain and sell to us every day. It's the ability to bring critical thinking skills to bear on all media— from music videos and Web environments to product placement in films and virtual displays on NHL hockey boards (Tallim, Jane. 2010). Tallim explains that through media, society can understand particular messages that influence us as a whole. It can be from newspapers to music videos and virtual interaction. Media makes us think about how it affects our classrooms and our children. Influence in a positive or negative way and how do we incorporate media, which is a massive part of our culture, with literacy, literature, classic literature or simply, in our lesson plans?

Media, Literacy and Literature in the English Classroom

Media literacy education involves all of these concepts and skills and more. It is not only a broad subject, but an expanding one as the young in particular are frequently exposed to newer avenues of media. Educators on the other hand rarely have as much experience with different forms of media as do their students. This dichotomy does not have to be viewed as a challenge to teaching media literacy in the classroom, but an opportunity for a more flexible teaching model, in which both the students and the educators are contributing knowledge, and learning (Coleman).

As educators, we should not necessarily turn away from hard-copy of texts nor ignore literature, we should rather incorporate all aspects of our present day society into our classrooms. We can include media texts and relate them to our present time media knowledge and awareness. For example, filming literature can be read through the original novel and analyzed through film or audio. There are many adaptations from novel to film and it will help students encounter visualization of the novel. Therefore, their understanding is compromised for students who learn in different ways, through reading or visual learning.


This video explains how media is not only used as a resource, but can also be used for learners to create their own type of media. A type of project can be helpful for the students to design a play or design a type of media in a modern way. They learn to present and create literature through their personal understandings and to their current pop cultures or cultures in general. The video also presents Shakespeare in an audio format where they try to compare them to people living within the community. It is interesting that by creating students' own perception of the literary text through media or the arts, they discover meanings and they gather the key concepts of the text.

Mini Lesson Plans


This video clip is from Gil Junger's film "10 Things I Hate About You", which is a modern version of Shakespeare's "The Taming Of The Shrew".


  1. Begin with Shakespeare's play "The Taming Of The Shrew". Read 2-3 scenes per class.
  2. After 2-3 scenes, show the film and relate it to the play. Find connections between text and film.
  3. Take this video clip and have them transcribe Kat's version of Shakespeare's sonnet.
  4. Ask your students to use the Internet to find the original sonnet from Shakespeare.
  5. Allow the students to find Shakespeare's terms and meanings of his language online.
  6. Compare and contrast the poems, line by line
  7. Individual project: ask your students to create their own version of a poem in the play.

Sonnet 141 (Shakespeare)

In faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes,
For they in thee a thousand errors note;
But 'tis my heart that loves what they despise,
Who in despite of view is pleased to dote;
Nor are mine ears with thy tongue's tune delighted,
Nor tender feeling, to base touches prone,
Nor taste, nor smell, desire to be invited
To any sensual feast with thee alone:
But my five wits nor my five senses can
Dissuade one foolish heart from serving thee,
Who leaves unsway'd the likeness of a man,
Thy proud hearts slave and vassal wretch to be:
Only my plague thus far I count my gain,
That she that makes me sin awards me pain.

Kat's version of Sonnet 141 (from 10 Things I Hate About You)

I hate the way you talk to me
And the way you cut your hair.
I hate the way you drive my car.
I hate it when you stare.
I hate your big dumb combat boots
And the way you read my mind.
I hate you so much it makes me sick.
It even makes me rhyme.

I hate it...
I hate the way you're always right.
I hate it when you lie.
I hate it when you make me laugh;
Even worse when you make me cry.

I hate it when you're not around
And the fact that you didn't call,
But mostly I hate the way
I don't hate you;
Not even close;
Not even a little bit;
Not even at all.

Assessment: Have a sheet of paper with one line of poetry with vocabulary from sonnet 141 and ask them to translate it in a way they understand it.


Dove Campaign Commercial

Use this clip to provide an example of how the issues of self-esteem and insecurities for young and old people. It provides a view of what people face within themselves.

  1. Show the clip.
  2. Analyze with the class and relate to situations they are familiar with. Not pointing out their personal insecurities.
  3. Ask them to discuss the video clip. What does it mean? What does it imply? Do you know someone who reminds you of these people in the commercial?
  4. Brainstorm ideas about self-esteem issues.
  5. Create a media project on one particular issue, such as a newspaper, a brochure, a play, a film, movie clip, commercial, billboard advertisement, etc.
  6. Present and explain to the class.


Students should be able to develop a 'deeper understanding of themselves and others and of the world around them' (Ontario Curriculum, page 4). Media Literacy and the comparison between media and literature cover this point in the curriculum. Through viewing a type of media and relating it to the topic at hand, encourages the students' minds to encompass their understandings. They become aware of how to relate it to society and to their personal experiences, which helps them comprehend the topics in literature and literacy.

Associated Websites

Media Awareness Network. 2010.

Incorporating Media in the Curriculum - useful links regarding media literacy

Wikiversity - On why is media literacy important?


Coleman, Brenna. Teaching Media Literacy in the Classroom. 2009.

Elliot, Pat. Media Literacy. 2010.

Media Awareness Network. 2010.

The Ontario Gr. 9 and Gr. 10 Revised Curriculum. Ministry of Education. 2007. <>

The Canadian Council on Learning. Lessons on Learning: Media literacy for children in the literacy age. 2008