Close Reading of Media Texts

Media educator Frank W. Baker conducts workshops with educators (and students) around close reading of media texts. For more information about his workshops, go here.  Contact him for specifics.  Return to the Media Literacy Clearinghouse for additional resources and ideas.

It’s been my experience that most teachers understand how to “close read” print, but many have not had the same training nor experience when it comes to teaching “media texts.”  That’s why I created this web resource. It is designed to provide guidance, suggestions and resources for helping you to teach students how to analyze the techniques used by media makers, so that their experience with media is a richer, more rewarding one. In many ways, when we do this, we are turning them away from being passive viewers, and turning them toward becoming more active (critical) viewers.

“When close reading a media text, you deconstruct (take part) the text by analyzing the way different elements are used to create meaning.
In order to close read a text, it is necessary to understand the particular media language used. Media language encompasses all the ways
in which media text is constructed to communicate with an audience through verbal, visual, aural language  ( e.g. lighting, layout, shots, typography, images, sound).” (Source)


Close Reading and What It Means for Media Literacy (1 of 4)
Close Reading: Visual Literacy Through Photography (2 of 4)
Close Reading Of Ads Promotes Critical Thinking (3 of 4)
Close Reading: The Language of Film (4 of 4)
Teaching Visual & Media Literacy With Popular Magazines
Close Reading of News, Ads & Websites

New Literacies & The Common Core – By William Kist
Close Reading With Media
Close Reading/Media Studies (New Zealand)
How to Conduct A Close Analysis of A Media Text (CML)

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Visual Literacy

Compare & Contrast Magazine Covers
How To Read A Magazine

Engaging Students With Primary Sources (pg 24 Photographs)
Basic Strategies in Reading Photographs
Close Reading A Photograph
Is Seeing Believing: Visual Literacy for the 21st Century Digital Age

Close Reading + Visual Literacy= Pathways to Understanding


Analyzing Tobacco AdsDeconstructing A TV Commercial
Close Reading:
Understanding the Appeals
Buy Me That:
Toy Commercials

Selling Sleeping Pills: Close Reading & Common Core

Close reading of ads: a how to guide
Close reading visual texts (video)


The Language of Film 
Close Reading: Film Trailers
To Kill A Mockingbird (film study guide)
Close Reading Film (prezi)
How To Read A Movie (Roger Ebert)
8 Compelling Docs to Teach Close Reading/Critical Thinking (NYT)
Handout: How to Read A Film
Analyzing Scenes in Film & Literature (NYT)



Close Reading One Direction’s Music Video
Close Reading of Pop Music

Other Resources/Lesson Plans
Organizer for Close Reading of Multimedia Texts
Elements of Multimedia Composition Descriptors
Close Reading Lesson Plans (Web English Teacher)