Media Literacy Inquiry with Young Children

At first glance, developing the habits of inquiry that are central to media literacy might seem too sophisticated or beyond the reach of young children. Some types of questions – like those that require an understanding of purely abstract concepts – may well be too difficult for toddlers and preschoolers. But young children are often capable of more insight than we give them credit for. Often it’s just a matter of finding developmentally appropriate language. Here’s some help:

If you’re just starting out, model asking relevant questions as you play with, view, read, or listen to media with children. Weave inquiry into normal activities. Make it routine. And model how to find credible answers. Eventually, encourage children to follow your lead and ask the questions for themselves. Before long, they’ll have a hard time using media without having questions come to mind – and that’s the goal.

If you want to see how the wording of these questions compare to the wording we use with older children and adults, you can download a free pdf from Project Look Sharp.

If you liked this post, you might want to also take a look at MEDIA LITERACY AND OUTDOOR EDUCATION FOR YOUNG CHILDREN .

May be reprinted for educational, non-profit use with the credit: From the edublog “TUNE IN Next Time” by Faith Rogow, Ph.D., 2020