Book Review: Media Literacy is Elementary

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Media Literacy is Elementary, by Jeff Share

This book provides a practical and theoretical look at how media education can make learning and teaching more meaningful and transformative. Author Jeff Share, a former professional photographer-turned- kindergarten teacher, masterfully transfers his personal commitment to social justice into a clarion call for critical media literacy “as early as possible” in the elementary grades.

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.

The ideas and experiences of working teachers are analyzed through a critical media literacy framework that provides realistic challenges and hopeful examples and suggestions. The 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 technology use. Communications classes will find it useful as it explores and applies key concepts of cultural studies and media education.

“Not teaching critical media literacy to your first graders? Why not?! With television and Internet content shaping how children see their world and themselves, Jeff Share argues ‘the earlier the better’. This book makes a compelling case for helping our youngest students analyze and create media. Taking up the tools – cameras, computers, pens, and pencils – in their own hands, children begin to participate in the discourse of democracy. Most importantly, they learn that they belong.”

-Carol Jago, Vice President of the National Council of Teachers of English; Director of the California Reading and Literature Project at UCLA.

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