My brilliant idea - Bite of the action

Englishmedia studies

Ages 11-16

Pupils increasingly need to develop their skills at reading images, as well as texts. A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but it can also be worth five marks in a GCSE non-fiction and media paper.

Movie posters are one of the best ways of looking at the power of an image, and has all the posters you will need. You can find classic posters such as the iconic image of the shark from Jaws.

Look at the power of a few words in the supporting tagline - such as the enigmatic copy for the Jurassic Park sequel The Lost World: "Something has survived."

Consider how a series of posters form an effective campaign, reaching different members of the target audience of the Pirates of the Caribbean sequence, for example.

And you can study how films are interpreted in different ways for different markets. Look at the amazingly varied posters for The Pianist and ask pupils to analyse which is most effective at presenting a Holocaust film. The tasks can be as fun, accessible and as challenging as you want them to be.

John Gallagher is head of English at Stratford-upon-Avon Grammar School for Girls.

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