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Read Write Think: Consumerism-Persuasive Techniques in Advertising


Activity Website:
Tech Product/Equipment:
Computer and projector, Mobile devices for students

Activity Description

This is a good unit on consumerism. The lesson is complete with video, note-taking and practice.

Students watch a video which explains advertising strategies. Then, using a note-taking chart, they will practice identifying advertising strategies while watching various commercials. They can also use the form at home while watching TV commercials for further practice. Then as a final activity, students can make a team presentation using PowerPoint.



  • Preview the "Art of Rhetoric" video.
  • Print and/or copy handouts or use links:
    • 1. Conversation: Shopping, Brands, Products
    • 3. Note Taking Chart - The Art of Rhetoric: Convincing Advertising  
    • 4.a. Advertising Strategies: Vocabulary and Identification Practice 
    • 4.b. Handout from Media Awareness Network: Advertising Strategies (pdf)
    • 5. All the Strategies
    • 6. Ad Strategies Commercials Practice: with list of commercials available on YouTube to show students
    • 6. Ad strategies commercials for students to watch and practice identifying advertising strategies 
    • 7. Add Analysis Project Prompt (Team Project) 
    • 8. Ad Analysis PowerPoint Presentation Template
  • Gather other advertisement examples to extend the lesson.


  1. Discuss advertising.
  2. View video as a class.
  3. Demonstrate analyzing advertisements using Web links listed answer key for activity or locate your own advertisement examples.
  4. Assign student groups to find advertisements and present to the class the advertisement techniques.
  5. Students can use PowerPoint to present their work.

Teacher Tips

Review how to prepare a PowerPoint presentation with your students. 

More Ways

At the main ReadWriteThink Web site, on the Classroom Resources tab, there are 200+ Lesson Plans for high school grades, searchable by grade level, lesson plan type, learning objective (25 including critical thinking, digital literacy, writing process, text/story structure), or theme (13 ranging from to Arts to Social Studies/History). While the high school lesson plans are age-appropriate for adults in Adult High School or GED courses, the lower-grade lesson plans can be adapted for ABE or ESL classes.

Program Areas

  • ABE: Adult Basic Education
  • ESL: English as a Second Language
  • ASE: High School Diploma


  • Intermediate
  • High
  • All Levels

Lesson Plan


Introduce the topic with the following questions. Group students by pairs to answer questions, then gather together and share answers as a group.(list of questions available Document 1.)

  1. What are your favorite stores: Grocery store, clothing store, department store?
    1. why do you like these stores better than others of their kind?
  2. What are some American Brands or products that are popular or well-known in your country?
  3. What are some brands or products that are popular or well-known in the USA and/or other places around the world?
  4. What is your country's main export?
  5. Are you loyal to certain brands? If so, which products and why? If not, why not?
  6. What is your shopping philosophy: A) always buy a well-known brand even though it may cost more because its products are reputable or B) buying the least expensive or generic brand to save money?
  7. Are you a bargain shopper or impulse buyer? Do you compare prices or buy an item at the first store you go to?
  8. Do you ever shop online? If so, what sites do you use and what are products you buy online? what are some benefits of shopping online? What are some disadvantages of shopping online? What is something you would never buy online and why?
  9. Have you ever bought something because of the advertisement for the product? If so, explain.
  10. Would you buy a product or pay for a service if your favorite celebrity endorsed it in a commercial? Why or why not? Besides celebrity endorsements, what are some other ways companies convince consumers to buy their brand in advertisements?

Set up a Padlet wall (example). Have students answer the question: What is your favorite commercial or a commercial you like? Then add the company name and a YouTube or other video of the commercial and write why you like this commercial or why it is memorable.

Gather the group and share the Padlet answers. Students can follow-up with questions for each other.

Engagement Enhancement

Hand out or give link to notes sheet: The Art of Rhetoric: Convince Advertising(document 3) Instruct students, as they watch the video, to fill out the chart. After the video, when the chart is completed, students turn to their classmates and compare answers.

Present Video to the class

Have students take notes on and notetaking form. 

Engagement Enhancement

Hand out or give the link to  Advertising Strategies (Document 4a) and Media Awareness Network's Advertising Strategies. (Document 4b) Have students read in small groups or pairs.

Students fill out the Advertising Strategies worksheet.(4a) Students turn to their classmate and go over the answers. As a class review any questions.



Practice 2: On the second page of Advertising Strategies (4a), assign students to watch some commercials and decide which strategy or strategies are used in each. Record observations.

Next day share answers and commercials students wrote about.

Go over All the strategies. (Document 5) Watch example commercials from the Ad strategies commercials sheet. (Document 6)  Discuss which category they fall into. If students have their own devices, have them watch commercials on their devices and then decide which strategy is being used. Students discuss their choices with each other. 



Engagement Enhancement

Assignment: Using the Ad strategies commercials list of links, (Document 6) Identify the strategies being used in each.

Students share and discuss their applications with each other.


Engagement Enhancement Extension

Show an example of the team project.

Two to four students work together to analyze and evaluate an advertisement for a product or service.

Share the team presentation with the students. Reflect on what you have learned about Advertisement strategies and how to apply this knowledge in dealing with media.



  • Language Arts - Reading
    • Analysis
    • Comprehension
    • Inference and Interpretation
    • Synthesis and Generalization
  • Language Arts - Writing
    • Language Facility
    • Organization of Ideas
  • Reading
    • Consumer Skills
    • Critical Thinking/Decision Making


  • Reading
    • CCR Anchor 1 - Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
    • CCR Anchor 2 - Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
    • CCR Anchor 6 - Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
    • CCR Anchor 7 - Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
    • CCR Anchor 8 - Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.
    • CCR Anchor 9 - Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.
  • Writing
    • CCR Anchor 2 - Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
    • CCR Anchor 6 - Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
    • CCR Anchor 9 - Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
  • Speaking and Listening
    • CCR Anchor 1 - Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
    • CCR Anchor 5 - Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.


Listening, Reading, Speaking, Writing, propaganda, read write think, readwritethink, advertisements, ad strategies, advertising, Art of Rhetoric, commercialism, commercials, persuasive techniques


ReadWriteThink, video, Padlet, Google Slides


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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN220124 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.