Core Principles

As the field of media literacy education has matured over the past 25 years, its focus has evolved from what is taught to how we teach. The Core Principles of Media Literacy Education is a NAMLE project to expand the boundaries of the field and encompass the opportunities and possibilities of 21st-century learning technologies to transform both learning and teaching – from kindergarten to college. The purpose of media literacy education is to help individuals of all ages develop the habits of inquiry and skills of expression that they need to be critical thinkers, effective communicators, and active citizens in today’s world.


Principles at a Glance

  • Media Literacy Education requires active inquiry and critical thinking about the messages we receive and create.
  • Media Literacy Education expands the concept of literacy to include all forms of media (i.e., reading and writing).
  • Media Literacy Education builds and reinforces skills for learners of all ages. Like print literacy, those skills necessitate integrated, interactive, and repeated practice.
  • Media Literacy Education develops informed, reflective and engaged participants essential for a democratic society.
  • Media Literacy Education recognizes that media are a part of culture and function as agents of socialization.
  • Media Literacy Education affirms that people use their individual skills, beliefs and experiences to construct their own meanings from media messages.

Referencing and Citation
For Core Principles

APA American Psychological Association

National Association for Media Literacy Education. (2007, November). The core principles of media literacy education. namle.education/resources/core-principals


Note: This format is most commonly used in social sciences and has been updated to reflect the rules of the 7th edition of the American Psychological Association Publication Manual released in October 2019. 

MLA Modern Language Association

“The Core Principles of Media Literacy Education.” National Association for Media Literacy Education, Nov. 2007, namle.education/resources/core-principals. Accessed [date] (ex. “Accessed 6 July 2020”).

Note: This format is most commonly used in ELA, humanities, cultural studies and has been revised to reflect the rules of the 8th edition of the Modern Language Association manual.

Chicago Style Chicago Manual of Style

“The Core Principles of Media Literacy Education.” National Association for Media Literacy Education. November 2007. namle.education/resources/core-principals

Note: This format is most commonly used in literature, history, and the arts and is more commonly used for published works than class paper and has been revised to reflect the rules of the 17th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style. This style uses both Author-Date and Notes-Bibliography system. Please refer to the official Chicago Manual of Style for the exact rules depending on your selected format.

AMA American Medical Association

Core Principles of Media Literacy Education.  namle.education.  namle.education/resources/core-principals. Published November 2007. Accessed [date] (ex: Accessed July 6, 2020). 

Note: This format is most commonly used writing medical research and has been updated to reflect the rules of the American Medical Association style sheet.

Printable Resources

Media Literacy
One Sheet

A quick one-sheet guide to Media Literacy and the means of communication that reach or influence people widely (i.e.; radio, tv, internet, news).

Key Questions

A list of key questions that we all should ask whenever we are reading or analyzing various media messages.

Key Questions
Spanish

Una lista de preguntas primarias los que debemos preguntar cuando leemos o analizamos medios de comunicación e sus mensajes.

Media Literacy Core Principles
One Sheet

A quick one-sheet guide on Media Literacy’s core principles to help individuals of all ages
develop the habits of inquiry and skills of expression that they need to be critical thinkers, effective communicators and active citizens in today’s world.

Core Principles of
MLE in The US

An expanded document that should be used as a springboard for vibrant and ongoing dialogue, and as a first step in the development of clear, measurable outcomes and benchmarks for U.S. schools.