Using Magazines in the Classroom

During my block experience, my first lesson plan was created around a magazine article. My mentor teacher uses Scope magazines frequently throughout her units as supplementary reading material.

Click here to learn more about Scope Magazine

I hadn’t thought much about using magazines in the classroom before this experience. But why shouldn’t we use magazines? They’re a wonderful nonfiction text written in a very unique style and often supplemented with visual media. While Scope is written specifically to be used within a classroom, other magazines would serve as excellent nonfiction texts as well. Some popular, school appropriate magazines include:

  • People Magazine
  • Times Magazine
  • Sports Illustrated
  • Smithsonian
  • National Geographic
  • Reader’s Digest

What are some magazine that you have read? Are you subscribed to any magazines now? Have you ever considered using them in your future classrooms?

Non Fiction in the Common Core

Common core has placed a large emphasis on using informational texts in reading.  The purpose of a magazine is to inform, entertain, and persuade.  This makes magazines a perfect printed material to use in the classroom. Magazines are an great way to teach students how to recognize and read publishing features such as captions, headers, illustrations, bold words, timelines, word boxes, footnotes, etc.

They are also a great resource to use in order to analyze the author’s choice of style and information. You could create a whole unit on writing a magazine article and analyzing all of the pieces that go into creating an effective story.

Scholastic goes into much more detail on using magazines in the classroom in this article.

Have you ever considered using classroom magazines in your classrooms? What are the benefits or drawbacks of using magazines versus newspapers?

Drawing Students In

When talking to students about non fiction literature, many students will immediately think essays and boring biographies or maybe long text book passages. Students are probably familiar with newspapers and magazines, but they may not realize that they are informative nonfiction texts.

Magazines use current events and vivid images to entice readers into picking up a copy. Even the covers use bright lettering and strong images that draw the eye to them.

These same factors will likely make a student more engaged with the text as they read. We as teachers can make connections between what we are reading and current events to make the content more meaningful for our students.

 What makes you choose which magazine to read? This is something we should consider when choosing magazines for our students.

Finding Magazines for the Classroom

One of the great things about using magazines in the classroom is how easy it is to get your hands on them. You can make photo copies of magazines you bring from home, ask community business to give you their old copies when they are done with them, or get discounts on bulk orders of magazines, especially for classroom magazines. Magazines can also be incorporated into your classroom library so students can read them independently.

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6 Responses to Using Magazines in the Classroom

  1. marybethlillian says:

    I like the idea of using magazines in the classroom. I don’t remember ever using them when I was a student, but I do read magazines on my own today. I have a subscription to Relevant Magazine, which is a magazine about God, life, and progressive culture. This magazine also has a companion website with even more articles and media links. I think using magazines are a great way to incorporate nonfiction texts in the classroom. With the new Common Core Standards, we need to find more and more ways to work these nonfiction texts into our curriculum. When I’m looking for a magazine to pick up, I usually look at the cover and see if there are any articles that catch my eye or people whom I recognize on the cover. When picking out magazines for students to use, this should be taken into mind. I think magazines could also be used in the classroom for projects such as collages and multi-media pieces. Having a stock of magazines for reading and magazines for projects would be a good idea. Students could even read magazines during sustained silent reading time, which you know will be a part of my classroom!

  2. ptdinardi says:

    Kim I had never put much thought into using magazines in the classroom either! I read a fair share of magazines myself and never think of them as a nonfiction print source. You bring up a really good point about teaching students to notice titles, bold font and other publishing features. Magazines would be a great way to do that. My experience with magazines in the classroom has always been as a “collage” type project. As in cutting up images from magazines to create a visual piece. Other than that I can not think of a personal experience with magazines in the classroom. I wonder if this reflects other peoples experiences with magazines as well?

  3. kmoleson says:

    I have never really thought of using magazines in the classroom, but after reading this I think it could be a useful idea as a teacher. I know that my middle and high school libraries both had magazines on racks for students to check out but I never saw any significance to it other than to go through it to kill five or ten minutes of time just looking at pictures or reading the latest celebrity gossip. I think that knowing this information of what magazines can do to teach our students when used the proper way can be very useful and different which will be a fun way to teach informative nonfiction texts.

  4. I love magazines. I’m a big fan of having magazines everywhere. I buy my kids magazines and think they’re fabulous learning tools. I also like to look at how different magazines advertise to people. If you’re interested in a great book about how teen magazines impact people’s lived, you should check out “How Sassy Changed My Life” (http://us.macmillan.com/howsassychangedmylife/karajesella). Thanks, Kim, for another great topic about engaging students in the classroom.

  5. sdlambach says:

    I remember using scholastic magazines all through elementary school, but it seems magazines never appeared again in my education beyond that. I loved reading magazines as a kid though. I had a subscription to Dogfancy (I’ll admit it) and American Girl. As I got older, I enjoyed reading National Geographic. Once I pick up a magazine, whether it’s something I’m really interested in or not, it’s hard to put down. Magazines are definitely attention catching and could get students reading. I have never really thought about the fact that they are nonfiction, a great idea for the common core pressure.

    In comparing magazines to newspapers, I personally find magazines to be more well-written than newspapers. Because of that, I’d be more inclined to use magazines. Magazines are also more upfront about their biases and interests than newspapers which I like. You could even do a lesson about how biases affect content using magazines.

    I will definitely be including magazines in my classroom library. Thanks for the tips on locating magazines for the classroom, Kim.

  6. djkopping says:

    I did not use magazines in any class when I was in school, but that seems to be changing, and I like it. As a subscriber t a couple of magazines, I find them to be a great way to keep up on information that can be useful. In my block class, my mentor teacher had the students read a couple of articles about tv viewing habits in relation to “The Pedestrian” by Ray Bradbury.

    As you pointed out, the emphasis on non-fiction in the classroom provides a great opportunity to incorporate magazines into our lessons. Also, many of the magazines now have comprehensive webpages that offer content that is not in the printed versions. This can provide an even more material that we can use.

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