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Media Detective

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Media Detective is a media literacy education program for 3rd- to 5th-grade students. The goal of the program is to prevent or delay the onset of underage alcohol and tobacco use by enhancing the critical thinking skills of students so they become adept in deconstructing media messages, particularly those related to alcohol and tobacco products, and by encouraging healthy beliefs and attitudes about abstaining from alcohol and tobacco use. The program consists of 10 45-minute lessons based on established models of decision-making and research on the message interpretation process. Students are taught to deconstruct product advertisements by looking for five "clues": (1) the product, (2) the target audience, (3) the ad hook, (4) the hidden message, and (5) missing information about the health- related consequences of using the product. The program uses a range of pedagogical techniques and can be adapted to a variety of classroom settings and skill levels of students. The Media Detective program kit contains the main materials needed to teach the program, including a teacher manual, poster flipchart, and CD with media examples. Individual student workbooks that accompany the activities taught in each lesson are sold separately. Also available is a comprehensive online training workshop, which provides an introduction to the theory and research underlying the program model and instructions for facilitating each program activity. Those who finish this training and successfully complete assessment tests receive certification as program teachers. Media Detective is related to Media Ready, a media literacy education program for 6th- to 8th-grade students.