Media Literacy

Resources for educators, caregivers, and students

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Why is media literacy important?

Accessing and using media is a fundamental skill for youth today – and so is the ability to analyze and evaluate that media critically. Strong media literacy skills allow kids to properly interpret the information they find, especially on the internet.

We support students’ online research, for both school and personal interest, by providing access to informed sources and expertise. Check out the digital resources, outreach programs, and other articles below to help your children and students learn to consume, share, and produce media thoughtfully and responsibly.

Become an Info Investigator

The music, TV and other media we consume influence how we see the world. To be informed consumers, kids need to develop media literacy skills. These skills include observation, research, and critical thinking.

Libraries are great places to find reliable sources of information and learn to use them. That's why we're excited to launch an online quiz in collaboration with Media Smarts, to help kids in Grades 4 – 6 test their media literacy skills.

Words to know

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Lateral Reading: Verifying information as you read it. This can be done by leaving the website and looking at other sites to make sure the original source is reliable and authentic. 

Critical observation: Using critical thinking to look more carefully at images and think about where those images were taken. 

Reverse Image Search: A digital investigative technique used to find the original source of photographs. 

Geolocation: Verifying the location of online information. 

Misinformation: Information that is inadvertently incorrect and not intended to mislead people. 

Disinformation: Information and the distribution of information that is deliberately incorrect or deceptive with the intention of spreading a false message. 

Propaganda: Information with an agenda. Its intention is to persuade and will often contain an unnecessary positive spin. 

Fake News: A term used to refer to information that is intentionally false. This term has been politicized to refer to information that one does not agree with, regardless of the validity of the information. 

Fact-checking: The process of verifying information to determine its correctness. 

Questions to ask when teaching media literacy

Who created this?

Was it a company? Was it an individual? (If so, who?) Was it a comedian? Was it an artist? Was it an anonymous source? Why do you think that?

Why did they make it?

Was it to inform you of something that happened in the world (for example, a news story)? Was it to change your mind or behaviour (an opinion essay or a how-to)? Was it to make you laugh (a funny meme)? Was it to get you to buy something (an ad)? Why do you think that?

Who is the message for?

Is it for kids? Grown-ups? Girls? Boys? People who share a particular interest? Why do you think that?

What techniques are being used to make this message credible or believable?

Does it have statistics from a reputable source? Does it contain quotes from an expert? Does it have an authoritative-sounding voice-over? Is there direct evidence of the claims it’s making? Why do you think that?

What details were left out, and why?

Is the information balanced with different views — or does it present only one side? Do you need more information to fully understand the message? Why do you think that?

How did the message make you feel?

Do you think others might feel the same way? Would everyone feel the same, or would certain people disagree with you? Why do you think that?

Independent resources