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How to Use a Print Ad- Modeling Critical Viewing Skills (Part 1)

by Janet Lee Stinson

Purpose-to enhance critical viewing skills using a modeled lesson and collaborative pairings.


Before you Begin

Materials preparation-

Search through teen magazines for use-able print ads. (e.g. Celebrity endorsements, Colourful ads, well known products)

Tear these print ads out of the magazines and place each one in a plastic sleeve. Placing ads in sleeves will protect your selections and allow for easy containment in a binder of choices.

Write and post prompts on a piece of chart paper.


Think Aloud Mini-lesson-(10 Minutes)

* A think aloud is when you (the teacher) speak your thoughts aloud for the group while reading/analyzing a text.

Project a popular coffee advertisement on the screen. Give students a brief minute to glance at the ad and consider the prompts:

1. What is the purpose of this resource? How do you know?

2. Who is the audience for this resource? How do you know?

3. What do you like about this resource? How could you change the resource to make it better?


Address each prompt as you,

Pause, Point, & Say:

1.  Looking at this print ad, I notice the features. Here is the title of the product, catchphrase and photo. I can assume the purpose of this ad is to sell coffee.

2. This ad is targeted at (for instance) people with enough money to afford breakfast or lunch out. These people have jobs and are drivers of vehicles. I know this because of the cars pictured and the variety of foods shown.

3. I think this ad is effective. I like the motion of the pouring coffee because this is what the company is known for. The placement of the coffee in the center of the ad is effective because that is the product. If I had to add something, I might include a picture of a well known local customer enjoying a donut. This would entice customers.




Janet Lee has been an English teacher/Department Chair, Nipissing University Reading Part 3 Instructor, Student Success Literacy Consultant, and Nelson Literacy 7-10 instructional writer and media specialist. Janet Lee recently presented literacy resources at The Great Moon Gathering in Fort Albany, Ontario. She enjoys maintaining her blog This Side of the Mirror-A Journey Through Reflection to communicate with teachers and address current issues in education.

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