Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us



Contribute to ReadWriteThink

ReadWriteThink couldn't publish all of this great content without literacy experts to write and review for us. If you've got lessons plans, videos, activities, or other ideas you'd like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.



Professional Development

Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.



Did You Know?

Your students can save their work with Student Interactives.

More more

HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Analyzing the Purpose and Meaning of Political Cartoons

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)


Analyzing the Purpose and Meaning of Political Cartoons

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five to seven 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Victoria Mayers Lynn Stone

Bellingham, Washington

Beth O'Connor

Westfield, Massachusetts


International Literacy Association



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



The decisions students make about social and political issues are often influenced by what they hear, see, and read in the news. For this reason, it is important for them to learn about the techniques used to convey political messages and attitudes. In this lesson, high school students learn to evaluate political cartoons for their meaning, message, and persuasiveness. Students first develop critical questions about political cartoons. They then access an online activity to learn about the artistic techniques cartoonists frequently use. As a final project, students work in small groups to analyze a political cartoon and determine whether they agree or disagree with the author's message.

back to top



Its No Laughing Matter: Analyzing Political Cartoons: This interactive activity has students explore the different persuasive techniques political cartoonists use and includes guidelines for analysis.

back to top



Ciardiello, A.V. (2003). "To wander and wonder": Pathways to literacy and inquiry through question-finding. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 47(3), 228239.

  • Question-finding strategies are techniques provided by the teacher, to the students, in order to further develop questions often hidden in texts. The strategies are known to assist learners with unusual or perplexing subject materials that conflict with prior knowledge.

  • Use of this inquiry strategy is designed to enhance curiosity and promote students to search for answers to gain new knowledge or a deeper understanding of controversial material. There are two pathways of questioning available to students. Convergent questioning refers to questions that lead to an ultimate solution. Divergent questioning refers to alternative questions that lead to hypotheses instead of answers.

  • Question-finding is based on the curiosity theory of psychologist Daniel Berlyne. His theory is known as the epistemic theory. The term refers to a behavior exhibited by individuals wanting additional information. Berlyne's theory is designed to encourage students to discover their own critical questions, and this skill will initiate critical thinking and inquiries throughout their lives.

back to top