Visual Literacy

Topics: Literacy, Reading, Visual system Pages: 2 (381 words) Published: April 7, 2014
Everything we see is an image. There really isn't a difference between text and an image, because a text is an image and an image is a text [1]. We have to learn how to read images through the process of vision. We live in a media and image saturated age where we are taking images all the time and we need to broaden what it means to be literate, to read images rather than text as image. It’s more than reading and writing, its reading the visual world.

Studies show that 21st century students’ today are consuming images at an extraordinary rate [1].In 2013, young people were actually looking at images throughout the day one hour and 17 minutes more than they used to in 2009 (refer figure 1).


The use of every type of media has increased over the last decade except reading (Kaiser Family Foundation Study). We need to learn how to read and to read images. It is considerably a question that is socioeconomic, a child from a low-income family is been read to an average about a hundred hours by the age of five, whereas a child from an upper-income or a middle-income family has been read to over 1,000 hours by the age of five (refer Figure2). Visual literacy is essential because we need to be able to construct meaning to make sense of everything that we see around us.


As defined by Brian Kennedy, “Visual literacy is a process of sending and receiving images using images. Visual literacy is the ability to construct meaning from visual images. It’s not a skill. It uses skill as a tool box. It’s a form of critical thinking that enhances your intellectual capacity.”

90% of the information we take in from the world is received by our eyes. The optic nerve has 1 million nerve fibres and 30% of it is for visual processing, 3% for hearing and 8% for touch. Visual Literacy enables people to interpret content of visual images, examine the impact of social images, discuss their purpose, the audience and ownership, and enables the ability to...

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