Some Theory: Visual Literacy

  • Introducing Visual Literacy

    Here you can find some theory on Visual Literacy and some easy tasks you can use with the students in your classroom


    Wileman (1993) defines Visual Literacy as the ability to read, interpret, understand and evaluate visual messages and visual forms of communication like pictures, maps and videos. It is fundamentally based on the belief that pictures can be ‘read’ and that meaning can be communicated through a process of reading.

    In the media age, children face reading literacy and VL challenges even at their early primary school age. The development of broad literacy skills, which go far beyond a purely text-based approach (e.g. critical and competent use of visual material, coding and decoding of pictures), would therefore appear necessary.  
    The early years are critical in the development of language and reading skills. Working with images is particularly appealing to children, promotes non-linear, lateral thinking and can motivate for learning. 
    Furthermore, VL encourages students to think, form their own opinions, develop personal choices and express them. This extends beyond linguistic capabilities of traditional reading and writing (Cornett, 2007). VL promotes critical thinking skills, interpretation, negotiation and deeper understanding, which support the premise of 21st century skills. It is also expected that VL and DI pedagogical approaches can form a new paradigm of inclusive teaching practices based on the anticipation of diverse learning needs in classrooms (McGuire & Shaw, 2003) while on the other hand can excite and engage different groups of students that become frustrated in reading and understanding lengthy texts and end up to underachievement to basic school skills and finally early school leaving (Watkins)



    Visual Literacy and Critical Thinking (Practicing it in our Arts Class)



    Some tasks and ideas to bring Visual Literacy in class:


    Working with photos in class - some ideas

    1.  Five Card Flickr