Analyzing Rhetoric in Print Advertisements

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SWBAT show their ability to analyze multiple kinds of texts for rhetorical situation and strategy by analyzing print advertisements from magazines.

Big Idea

Advertisers are masters of rhetoric--studying print advertisements allows students a chance to do a close reading for the specific strategies seen in a magazine.


10 minutes

To follow up with a student request, I have put together a bookmark that will help students track their reading progress in between our bi-weekly reflections. I will explain how/why to use these and give them ten minutes to read.

Review of Rhetoric Vocabulary

5 minutes

Just to make sure we are all on the same page with rhetorical vocabulary (we will have a break in between the overview lesson and today's lesson to accommodate a peer review workshop for their final memoirs), we will spend a few minutes making sure we know the difference between ethos, pathos and logos (L.9-10.6).

As rhetoric is one of the key concepts that we will deal with this year, I will continue to use visual texts to ensure they are familiar with and able to use the vocabulary that we review in class. Rather than videos, though, I will use print advertisements today so that students can spend more time looking at each text and practice citing specific evidence for how rhetoric is being utilized in each piece (RI.9-10.1 and RI.9-10.6). 

Small Group Analysis of Print Advertisements

15 minutes

I have a color coded set of magazine advertisements to use for this activity. Each color represents a different type of magazine. Here are a few of the sample sets that I use--in addition, I have a set from a bridal magazine, and outdoor/sports magazine, a male sports magazine set, and a variety of other general interest magazine sets, which I cannot reproduce here for copyright reasons.

After I use an advertisement to model what I want them to do/look for, I will put students into groups of three or four and give each group three advertisements from the same kind of magazine and have them analyze the rhetorical situation (speaker/company, audience and purpose) for the magazine as a whole (RI.9-10.6).

I will then have them analyze each advertisement for ethos, pathos and logos. I will ask them to take notes on each of the appeals so that they can present their observations to the class.

Whole Group Share out of Findings

5 minutes

In whatever time remains after we have moved the desks back into rows, I will ask groups to share an analysis of one or more advertisements that they reviewed (SL.9-10.1).

I will ask students in the audience to take note of trends or themes and ask them to think about why a magazine's advertisements might have similar kinds of advertisements. I'm hoping that they will be able to identify the connection between rhetorical strategy and intended audience.