Visual Literacy: Navigating a World Immersed in Visual Language Conference Poster (Faculty180)

cited authors

  • Champa, Martha; Hapgood, Susanna E.


  • Developing visual literacy skills has come to the forefront in curriculum and instruction. From interpreting historical photographs, to critically analyzing journalistic images, to understanding data displays within science texts, we are inundated with images that require critical analysis and interpretation. Brian Kennedy (2018), director of the Toledo Museum of Art said, "learning to read, understand, and write visual language is an ability that helps all aspects of life." Kennedy further explained, "the visually literate person uses sensory skills for critical thinking. By better interpreting the world around us, we advance our opportunities for a more productive and engaged life." Visual literacy, as Roswell, McLean & Hamilton have stated, “connects with students’ everyday lives as consumers and producers of texts. It helps them to analyze and explore the webs of meaning within which the images exist” (Roswell, McLean & Hamilton, 2012, p. 444). This poster presentation will define visual literacy and present its importance in helping learners navigate our visual world. As Wiseman, Makinen & Kupiainen have written, “visual literacy incorporates color, shape, spatial representation, print, messages, meaning and communication. When teachers use visual methods as a tool for thinking and communicating, students can experience new ways of learning that build on their identities and knowledge outside of school” (Wiseman, Makinen & Kupiainen, 2016, p. 538). Visitors to this poster presentation will use the elements of art and principles of design to interpret visual images. They will also be invited to move beyond the activity of interpretation of visual images to encode their own visual images by creatively and/or visually responding to a piece of art or creating a visual image to depict information or a collection of data. Participants in this poster presentation will enhance their visual literacy skills and be ready to incorporate them into gifted curriculum. The experiences will awaken participants’ awareness of the visual language that dominates our landscape and also provide concrete experiences in interpreting, responding to, and creating images using the visual language supported by elements of art and the principles of design. Roswell, J. McLean, C. & Hamilton, M. (2012). Visual literacy as a classroom approach, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy. 55(5), 444-447. Wiseman, A. Mäkinen, M., & Kupiainen, R. (2016). Literacy through photography: Multimodal and visual literacy in a third grade classroom. Early Childhood Education Journal, 44(5), 537–544.

publication date

  • 2019