What is Visual Literacy?

"Visual literacy is defined as the ability to interpret images as well as to generate images for communicating ideas and concepts"(Stokes, 2002) 

"A visually literate person should be able to

  • Interpret, understand and appreciate the meaning of visual messages;
  • Communicate more effectively by applying the basic principles and concepts of visual design;
  • Produce visual messages using computers and other technologies; and
  • Use visual thinking to conceptualize solutions to problems"
    (Christopherson, 1996)
If a picture is worth a thousand words...
"Whenever we look at a photographic image we engage in a series of complex readings which relate as much to the expectations and assumptions that we bring to the image as to the photographic subject itself. Indeed, rather than the notion of looking, which suggests a passive act of recognition, we need to insist that we read a photograph, not as an image but as a text. (Clark,1997)
Every Picture Tells a Story
Visual Literacy and Critical Thinking
  • Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) is a specific approach to whole-class viewing and talking about art that primarily uses these questions:
    1. What's going on in this picture?
    2. What do you see that makes you say that?
    3. What more can we find?
  • Students Asking the 4 W's

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