Approaches to Active Reading and Visual Literacy in the High School Classroom

Authored by: John S. O’Connor , Dan Lawler

The Routledge Companion to Media Education, Copyright, and Fair Use

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138638891
eBook ISBN: 9781315637549
Adobe ISBN:


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Recent estimates of American TV consumption are off the charts: on average, 4.5 hours per day or 13.5 solid years of watching TV. Yet most Americans watch TV passively—without thinking critically about the media they are consuming. Our chapter, “Approaches to Active Reading and Visual Literacy in the High School Classroom,” considers our experiences as high school teachers. In this chapter, we’ll consider what it means to “read” visual images. We’ll also consider the consequences of reading visual media critically for our lives as democratic citizens. We’ll lay out a before-and-after picture of our students’ experiences: how they read a host of visual texts (graphic novels, movies, television shows, commercials, billboards, and blogs) before and after they learn concrete strategies designed to help them read these texts more deeply and more purposefully.

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