Visual literacy: Look, talk, write - Using a picture to extend vocabulary

Primary History article

By Jane Card, published 23rd July 2012

Using a picture to extend vocabulary

Editorial note: Primary History's theme edition on Visual Literacy, PH 49, Summer 2008, addressed the role of visual literacy in developing pupil language: spoken, enacted and written.

Introduction - words for pictures

Stimulus - child engagement

Some years ago, a friend's eight year old daughter arrived with a pack of Pokemon cards. With frightening ease, she reeled off the details of a multitude of characters, their alternative forms and powers, deploying a range of highly specialised terms - all prompted by the images. Research with children of both primary and secondary level on learning with historical images has made the same point: working with images can massively widen pupils' vocabulary. Images need discussion to be understood, but promote discussion as they are explored. Pupils observe and make deductions with great facility, but also need to find new words to express these ideas; words they can use and assimilate...

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