Teaching your child how to read is a marathon. You might be feeling overwhelmed at times or even at ease. Whatever the case, it is important to keep pushing and believing that your child will attain the skills to be a successful literate individual. When I was teaching, visuals brought an added feature to the conversation and uplifted stories. The use of imagery can be a critical asset when breaking down complex topics.
All in all, we live in a visual world, and integrating visual literacy skills can assist your struggling reader to read. Think about all of the people who use visuals in their lives: Deaf or Hard of Hearing, painters, photographers, software developers, UI/UX professionals, and so many more. Images support these individuals on a day-to-day basis. So when you are transitioning from books with many images to a few, think about how you can continue utilizing images to make your reader blossom.
I am sharing information from this study ,Avgernou & Petterson (2011), Toward a Cohesive Theory of Visual Literacy, they describe visually literacy as: Visual Perception, Visual Language, Visual Learning, Visual Thinking, and Visual Communication.
Images are produced from the artist’s perception. So a visual reader needs to learn how to describe, explain, and provide evidence for their thinking. The intent on teaching visual literacy is to use vocabulary, awareness about the image, and connections to the world around them.
Planning Theory into Practice
Start by being comfortable and using materials that interest your reader. For example if your reader enjoys comic books then agree to read 1:1. For every comic book, then the other book has to be an academic text. This way you can see how your child is applying their knowledge from their personal books.
With visual literacy it is key that your reader acquires this skill so that they can interpret visuals on other places. Visuals are cultural, so it will be important to keep those cultural experiences in mind.
1. Visual Perception
Prior experiences and image context support visual perception.
- Tell me what you think about____?
- What does the caption on the text say to support this image?
- What is the image (video or image) telling you?
2. Visual Language
Visual language is about explaining the meaning and having a clear understanding about what they see.
- Explain what you understand about this image?
- Detail the lines, colors, or graphics
- How do the colors affect the images?
3. Visual Learning & Visual Communication connected
Visual Learning is where a reader is motivated to interact with images. They communicate with images.
- How are the scenes and characters interacting?
- How is the time period portraying????
- How do the illustrations relate to the text?
- What themes are being constructed as you read?
- Can you show me???
4. Visual Thinking
Linked with visual thinking. Visual thinking includes more image specific vocabulary.
- Do the images make you change your mind?
- How are images framed?
- What are the elements that make this image critical?
- Vocabulary: foreground, background, contrasts, lighting, borders, size, scale?
You can find more in Reading the Visual: An Introduction to Teaching Multimodal Literacy (Language and Literacy Series)