This 59-page e-book describes the value of explicitly teaching visual literacy skills, strategies to "read" wordless pictures books with students, and a list of 101 annotated recommended wordless picture books currently in print. The e-book also contains a subject index to find books that may suit your lessons and units. Written by Michelle McGarry, an elementary library teacher in Massachusetts, who has experience in both school librarianship and publishing. This e-book provides valuable resources for teachers who teach grades PK-3.
Visual Literacy is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the ability to recognize and understand an idea conveyed through visible actions or images (such as pictures),” (“Visual Literacy,” n.d.). Children today are bombarded by images today moreso than any other generation before them because of the Internet, social media, and media technology (television, iPads, smart phones, etc).
At the same time as they are being bombarded with images, children today may have less capability to interpret these images. Children seem to have trouble recognizing minute changes in facial expressions, often don’t wonder about how a character is feeling based on body language or changes in action (as represented in an illustration), or don’t understand the story as deeply as they could if they had a more solid knowledge of both artistic expression and human emotion. Without explicitly teaching visual literacy skills, students often do not fully understand the visual information they are looking at during a lesson (Froschauer, 2012).
Children’s wordless picture books provide us with an opportunity to have children look at an illustration and say, “I wonder what is going on in this picture? Why is the character doing what he or she is doing? What are they feeling?” Children are forced to tell the story themselves merely from the illustrations, and this adds meaning, stimulates engagement, and encourages ownership in the story—it is not a passive listening to the words provided. Research has shown that, along with reading, writing, listening, and speaking, visual literacy offers children a different way of understanding and even promotes higher order thinking and problem solving. (Anderson, 2002; Flood, et al., 1998; Villarreal & Martinez, 2015).