Chris Adcock
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
  • Grade 11 ELA
  • Reading
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    Defining Your Audience

    Defining Your Audience


    In this lesson, students will think about the challenges of marketing to an American teenage audience and consider the audience their character most likely tried to influence.


    • Read the lesson and student content.
    • Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.
    • Think about how your class's groups worked together in the previous lesson. Is there anything that needs to be addressed before they work together again?

    Ad Exec Quick Write

    • Today's activity will ask students to figure out and describe what an audience member for their character's document would have considered important.
    • They should keep in mind, during this work, that they will be presenting their message to a modern teenage audience; even at this early stage, they can think about adjustments they will have to make.
      • ELL: Make sure ELLs understand the term misfire .


    Imagine you are an advertising executive trying to create an ad for an expensive sports car. Bearing in mind that your target audience is modern American teenagers, write a response to the following questions.

    • What do you need to know about your target audience?
    • Why is it important to know your audience?
    • What are some potential misfires you could make by misreading your audience?
    • What are some qualities of modern American teenagers that you would try to appeal to?


    Audience Profile

    • Circulate as groups work. The purpose is for students to think about the audience their character was writing for; this will enable them to see how their characters worked to address audience concerns.
    • Project or display the list for easier viewing.
      • SWD: Providing a graphic organizer for students to use as they create their audience profile can be helpful to some students with disabilities.

    Work Time

    With your group, read the background information provided about your character’s time, location, and political surroundings. (The readings are on the next page for reference.)

    Your task is to figure out who your character’s audience might have been and what kinds of arguments would have appealed to that audience. Write what you know about each piece of information listed below to create an audience profile for your character.

    • Character’s name
    • Dates of character’s life
    • Title and publication date of character’s work that you are reading
    • Important political or cultural events and circumstances of the time
    • Issues that were important to your character
    • Your character’s stance on those issues
    • Your character’s likely audience members
    • What do you think your character’s audience’s stance was? What were the prevailing opinions of the time?
    • What would the audience’s knowledge level have been about these issues?
    • What do you think would have been important to your character’s audience (for example, religious values, money, fairness, freedom)?

    As you work, reflect on what you learned about the importance of audience when you imagined being an advertising executive.

    Reading Options

    Make sure your students understand which reading to use.

    Work Time

    Reminder: Your task is to figure out who your character’s audience might have been and what kinds of arguments would have appealed to that audience. Write what you know about each piece of information listed below to create an audience profile for your character.

    Mixed-Character Group Share

    Have students return to their mixed-character groups from the previous lesson for this task.

    • SWD: Using a Venn diagram for this task may offer more clarity for visual learners.

    Work Time

    In your mixed-character group, share your audience profile with your classmates.

    As you review the profiles of your classmates’ characters, consider these questions.

    • What do the various audiences the writers were addressing have in common?
    • What are some major differences among the audiences?

    When you finish, discuss the similarities and differences among your characters’ audiences with the group.

    Predictions Quick Write

    Remind students of the time periods in which these documents were written.


    In a Quick Write, reflect on the following question.

    • What are three predictions you have about ways your document will have been tailored to the particular audience it was intended for?


    Independent Reading and Journal

    Ask students to vary their responses. For instance, if they usually respond to theme, ask them to respond to writing style or character.

    • ELL: This point in the unit can be a good place to challenge ELLs in particular to branch out from the types of responses they usually write. A possible way to encourage them to take these risks may be to assess their contributions based on their ideas and not their grammar or sentence structure.


    Continue with your Independent Reading and Dialectical Journal entries.