Thursday, June 7, 2012

Professional resources – visual literacy.

In Monday’s post I wrote about infographics as illustrated in How to Land a Jumbo Jet. However entertaining or inspirational this book is, understanding and creating graphics falls within the broader concept of visual literacy.  Many of the ‘skills’ needed to analyze, interpret and create pictorial representations of information are embedded within the curriculum.  Critical thinking, classification, sequencing, deductive and inductive reasoning, hypothesizing and critiquing are skills found in the all the content areas.

Following are a few recommendations for books that will help you develop your understanding of visual literacy and the potential that it has in the classroom to engage students.

Teaching Visual Literacy: using comic books, graphic novels, anime, cartoons, and more to develop comprehension and thinking skills edited by Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher (372.6 FrT 2008).
            Well, the subtitle pretty well covers it.  This book is a collection of essays that will give some basic background information, with chapters focussed on specific aspects of visual literacy.  Besides the formats listed in the subtitle. there are chapters about using picture books, films, and political cartoons and about how students with disabilities can be supported in their learning through visual literacy.

Visual Impact, Visual Teaching: using images to strengthen learning by Timothy Gangwer (2nd ed.) (371.3028 GaV 2009).
            This one provides a solid overview of the different types of learning and how visual learning fits into almost any teaching environment.  Gangwer is very big on using photos and having kids do the picture taking. He provides many examples of classroom situations to illustrate his points. Half the book is activities that will engage students in different all content areas (language arts, math, science and social studies) and also in arts and humanities, environmental education, life skills, enhancing self-esteem and global holidays.

Visual Tools for Transforming Information into Knowledge by David Hyerle (2nd ed.) (371.3028 HyV 2009)
            This one gets a lot more specific, focussing on specific tools. As listed in the book, these include: brainstorming webs for fostering creativity and open mindness; graphic organizers for fostering analytical content and process specific learning; conceptual mapping for fostering cognitive development and critical thinking; and Thinking Maps, a unique synthesis language of visual tools.

Developing Visual Literacy in Science K-8 by Jo Anne Vasquez et al. (507.1 VaD 2010).
            Though this one does focus on science it also provides an overview or ‘primer’ about visual literacy. The authors touch on the best known tools such as graphic organizers, conceptual maps and brainstorm webs but also delve into ‘3-D graphic organizers (foldables).

However deserving teachers are of their summer breaks, many also will get caught up on professional reading.  It may be that one of these titles will help you further your understanding and add to your instructional practices for visual literacy.


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