The Need For Visual Literacy in the
By: Jennifer R Gillen
What is Visual Literacy?
Visual Literacy is the ability to
understand or learn about a subject
through an image.
The students can see an image or
picture and be able to interpret it’s
Literacy is learning through
words, where visual literacy is learning
with a picture.
About the Examples:
By looking at the picture, a student
can understand the concept of how
Pie charts are a great way to teach
children the concept of percentages
and math because they can visually
see what a percent is.
A pie chart can visually explain a
This Power Point is Visual
This power point itself is an
example of visual literacy.
The power point program is
used in classrooms and offices
around the world.
Power Point can show its
viewers concepts with pictures
Articles and research about visual
Susan Stokes from Troy State University
wrote that “Research reported in educational
literature suggests that using visuals in
teaching results in a greater degree of
She also wrote that “As studies show success
in thinking and learning visually instead of or
in addition to traditional lectures and verbal
description, a shift in technique is required.
Students need to learn visually and teachers
need to learn to teach visually.”
Research on visual literacy
Stokes also wrote that
“Mayer, Bove, Bryman, Mars, and Tapangco
(1996) compared the use of a multimedia
summary comprised of a sequence of annotated
illustrations depicting the steps in a process, with
a 600-word text summary of the process. Also
compared were the multimedia summary plus
different amounts of text in knowledge retention
and transfer. Results suggest that the multimedia
summary is more effective than the verbal
summary, and that the multimedia summary alone
is more effective when it contains a small amount
of text rather than a large amount of text. Their
Today’s standards require
students to be visually literate.
The Association of College and Research
Libraries wrote that
“Today's society is highly visual, and visual
imagery is no longer supplemental to other forms
of information. New digital technologies have
made it possible for almost anyone to create and
share visual media. Yet the pervasiveness of
images and visual media does not necessarily
mean that individuals are able to critically
view, use, and produce visual content. Individuals
must develop these essential skills in order to
engage capably in a visually-oriented society.”
Students need visual
ACRL also wrote that “Visual literacy
skills equip a learner to understand and
contextual, cultural, ethical, aesthetic, int
ellectual, and technical components
involved in the production and use of
visual materials. A visually literate
individual is both a critical consumer of
visual media and a competent
contributor to a body of shared
knowledge and culture.”
Students need to be able to learn visually.
They need to be able to interpret what a
picture actually represents.
Visually literacy usually comes natural for
Students also need to be able to create
their own visual media in order to explain
their thoughts to others.
Visual literacy is needed in the classroom
because students learn and retain more
information if they see the picture.
Association of College and Research
libraries.(2011). ACRL Visual Literacy
Competency Standards for Higher Education.
22, 2013, http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/visual
Stokes, Susan. Visual Literacy in Teaching and
Learning. Retrieved October 22, 2013, from