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Media Literacy is Elementary

Teaching Youth to Critically Read and Create Media- Second Edition

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Jeff Share

This book provides a practical and theoretical look at how media education can make learning and teaching more meaningful and transformative. This second edition includes more resources, photographs, and updated information as well as two new chapters: one exploring the pedagogical potential for using photography in the classroom and the other documenting a successful university course on critical media literacy for new teachers. The book explores the theoretical underpinnings of critical media literacy and analyzes a case study involving an elementary school that received a federal grant to integrate media literacy and the arts into the curriculum. Combining cultural studies with critical pedagogy, critical media literacy aims to expand the notion of literacy to include different forms of mass communication, information communication technologies, and popular culture, as well as deepen the potential of education to critically analyze relationships between media and audiences, information, and power. This book is a valuable addition to any education course or teacher preparation program that wants to promote twenty-first century literacy skills, social justice, civic participation, media education, or critical uses of technology. Communications classes will also find it useful as it explores and applies key concepts of cultural studies and media education.
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Chapter 5. The Earlier the Better: Expanding and Deepening Literacy with Young Children

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THE EARLIER THE BETTER

Expanding and Deepening Literacy with Young Children

Most children born in the U.S. in this millennium have never known a time without the Internet, cellular phones, or television.1 Practically every U.S. household has at least one television set, and about one-third of young children live in homes where the TV is on “always” or “most of the time” (Rideout, Vandewater, & Wartella, 2003, p. 4). Before most children are 6 years of age, they spend about 2 hours per day with screen media,2 something that doubles by age 8, and before they are 18, they spend approximately 6½ hours daily with all types of media (Rideout, Roberts, & Foehr, 2005).3 It is also estimated that nearly all young children in the U.S. “have products—clothes, toys, and the like—based on characters from TV shows or movies” (Rideout et al., 2003, p. 4). The implications for the amount of media enveloping today’s youth are significant when one considers current research about literacy acquisition that suggests “the early childhood years—from birth through age eight—are the most important period for literacy development” (International Reading Association & National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1998, p. 1).

Technological innovations, expansion of global media empires, and unrestricted commercial targeting of children have all contributed to an environment where today’s kids are growing up in a mediated world far different from ← 119 | 120 → that of...

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