Very young children make choices about what they want to buy based on what the package looks like. They pick library books by the cover.
So how early should we educators begin educating our students in visual literacy and media literacy? As early as possible.
We can have students analyze two book covers and ask them what each tells about the main character. For example, there are numerous versions of The Three Little Pigs, each with a different cover. A search of Google images will reveal many book covers. We can ask questions such as “Who is on each cover? What action are they doing? Are they happy? Where are they?” and ask for the students to point to the part of the cover that answers each question.
We can ask students to predict what will happen next in a picture book based on analyzing the images on the present page. They can identify what in the picture leads them to think a certain thing will happen.
As we read a book to them, we can show them an image of what might be a house or a location from the book and ask them to decide if the house is the same one that they have heard described. They can tell why or why not based on the image. Again, an image search on Google for “Three Little Pigs” + house will show many different houses.
So what other visual literacy activities do you do with primary students? Intermediate students? High School students?
© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007