EC&I 832

Dreaming of Media Literacy Fluency

This week, I explored the concept of media literacy, which is defined by the National Association for Media for Literacy Education as “the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create, and act using all forms of communication” (What is Media Literacy? Media Literacy Defined, n.d.).

Why We Dream and the Role They Play – Cleveland Clinic
Picture of a woman dreaming, with her hair symbolizing dream clouds with stars.

When I initially read over this definition, it reminded me of when I was living in Montreal and attempting to learn French. My professor then told me that I would know I was literate in French when I began to dream in French. Therefore, my professor’s definition is that being literate means not just understanding the language in a surface-level way but internalizing it to the point where it becomes a natural part of one’s thought process. Similarly, media literacy extends beyond simply consuming information; it involves a comprehensive set of skills that enable people to engage critically with various forms of communication. Much like dreaming in a language, true media literacy involves seamlessly navigating, analyzing, and creating content in the ever-evolving realm of technology and media. It is more than just recognizing information; it is the ability to decode, interpret, and actively participate, empowering people to make informed decisions.

It is important to highlight the subconscious nature of dreaming because I did not consciously translate the words or phrases; instead, my mind effortlessly grasps the meaning and context without interpretation. Media literacy fluency involves a similar instinctive understanding of the underlying messages, motives, and nuances embedded within media. When you dream in a language, it signifies a level of immersion and comfort with that language. Similarly, media literacy fluency implies an immersion in the digital realm, where individuals feel comfortable navigating the ever-evolving realm of technology, social media, and various communication platforms. Therefore, my view of media literacy is not just a set of skills but a deeply ingrained aspect of my cognitive processes that allows me to perceive, interpret, and interact with the world around me.

C.E.F.R. Levels – Badges for Languages
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and fluency scale.

Let’s dive a little deeper into my comparison between dreaming in a language and being media literacy fluent. Much like language fluency, media literacy fluency operates on a scale. At the basic level, individuals may be able to recognize common symbols, like the TikTok logo, and understand straightforward messages, like funny TikTok videos. However, they would not understand the intricacies of the app or feel comfortable editing and posting their own content. As individuals progress to independent users, they develop the ability to analyze and evaluate more complex forms of media. Therefore, individuals at this level might be able to navigate diverse communication platforms, identify credible and non-credible sources, and begin to critically assess the information they encounter. As individuals become proficient users, they can not only decode information but also actively engage with it, creating content and participating in meaningful online discussions. Finally, at the highest level, individuals achieve a media literacy mastery similar to first-language speakers. At this level, individuals not only consume and create media seamlessly but also act as critical influencers, shaping digital narratives and creating a media-literate community. This means that most social media influencers are fluent in media literacy, which is something I never previously considered. However, just as language learners can move backwards on the scale, so can individuals that were once media literacy fluent. The emergence of new technologies, platforms, and applications may cause once fluent individuals to become basic users if they do not learn, engage, and adapt.

So, in conclusion, media literacy, like language proficiency, is a dynamic and evolving skill that progresses along a fluency scale. Just as dreaming in a language represents a subconscious mastery, media literacy fluency is an instinctive, deeply ingrained ability to navigate, interpret, and contribute meaningfully in the digital world. Whether you find yourself at the basic level or striving for mastery, the journey towards media literacy parallels the quest for language proficiency, as they both involve continuous learning, adaption, and a nuanced understanding of the ever-changing landscapes.

Questions to Ponder

As you continue to think about media literacy in relation to language proficiency, consider the following questions:

  1. Have you ever had a similar experience with language learning or media literacy, where you felt a shift from surface-level understanding to a more immersive, subconscious mastery?
  2. Where do you see yourself on the media literacy fluency scale described in my post? What steps have you taken to progress? Have you experienced a regression in your media literacy skills due to changes in technology or platforms?


Potter, W. J. (2010). The State of Media Literacy. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 54(4), 675-696.

What is Media Literacy? Media Literacy Defined. (n.d.). Namle.


  • Michael

    I love the metaphor of ‘dreaming in French’ as being ‘literate.’ Now all I can think of is ‘dreaming in digital’ and “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K. Dick which was the basis of the movie “Blade Runner,” which is set in 2021. What could ‘dreaming in digital’ look like? Hyperrealistic? Fake News? Could you imagine a deep immersion into the digital world, which would be similar to the integration of a second language? Digital Immersion Class might be what I call my major project for this class. This digital dreaming could be an intuitive ability to assess the authenticity of information. As the principal of a virtual school, I am constantly trying to keep up with the latest educational digital tools. Still, the rapid growth of these tools (specifically AI) keeps me challenged as so many are coming out. I could spend all my time messing around with digital media and thinking about how teachers and students can use them.

    • Chantal Stenger

      Hi Michael,

      Wow, I really like how you connected my idea to digital dreaming as a way to assess the authenticity of information. Thank you for re-framing my brain!

    • Ramona Alexson

      Hello Chantal! I feel that your insightful post outlines a strategic view/approach to media literacy. Thank you for organizing, researching and sharing your strategy. When analyzing my levels of media literacy on a language learning continuum, I know that I am on a learning curve where I see/recognize platforms, am able to navigate with/within media and engage with tech tools to use and create content. Teaching our students to develop media literacy skills to be able to decode, interpret, active participation with empowers them to be content creators is time-consuming. The concerns of digital access and digital divide that is in our community hinders efforts for students to be active learners outside the classroom (lack of homework). I do lots of modeling tech processes in the classroom and look forward to the day that Digital Citizenship become curriculum with outcomes and indicators that can be evaluated and assessed – valid progress reports and a high school credit. I do embed these literacies into my ELA curriculum under compose and create multi media projects….so there is a current way of assessing.

      “Dream in French”….made me think of my passion to listen to French opera. Currently I am enjoying “Habanera” from Carmen. Without the internet, I would not be able to listen to Spotify or watch Youtube videos with English and French titles. Lamour! Lamour! Lamour! (love). There are local words I recognize: “q’uappelle” (calls).
      Thank you for this conversation!

  • Cole Nicolson

    Chantal, I think the dreaming analogy is an especially apt one! What a fantastic way to conceptualize the internalization of a skill like media literacy. I think to a certain extent we have an internalized sense of media literacy, but just like any kind of internalized ideas they can be prone to mistakes and biases. This is something it is essential to dissect and reflect on within ourselves: how much of our internalized literacy was processed through a biased lens!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *