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Visual Literacy in Non Fiction. Staff Development Day July 2012. Overview. This presentation will outline some strategies to assist children to communicate using visual texts. Need to remember some concepts are better communicated using visual texts rather than words-only texts

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visual literacy in non fiction

Visual Literacy in Non Fiction

Staff Development Day

July 2012

  • This presentation will outline some strategies to assist children to communicate using visual texts.
  • Need to remember some concepts are better communicated using visual texts rather than words-only texts
  • Visual texts develop research skills
visual literacy is a life skill
Visual Literacy is a Life Skill
  • It is crucial in our everyday lives – going shopping……
  • Basic visual texts associated with above are:

*diagrams *graphs

*maps *tables

re composing
  • Recomposing is a useful strategy for
  • summarizing information
  • planning an essay
  • developing comprehension

Re-composing avoids copying

  • Need to demonstrate to children – when we read information we often make notes to assist with understanding and recall
  • Notes –not always written as words or sentences
  • Notes – can be as diagrams, maps, timelines, flow charts etc.
consequence charts
Consequence Charts
  • This is a "What if?" activity. Many skills are involved: brainstorming ideas, problem solving, visualizing how all parts of the problem fit together, and planning a discussion or an explanation.
  • This activity involves making a consequence chart, which is a kind of flow chart.

Organise students to work in pairs, each pair with a separate sheet, adding as many possible consequences as they can. Encourage the students to look for advantages as well as disadvantages for each consequence.

Every consequence chart will be different, but here is one example:


Students compare each other's results and are free to borrow any ideas that they like.

  • They can revise their own consequence chart after seeing others' ideas.
  • This is pooling knowledge and imagination.
  • It's not "cheating.”

Suggestion: There are likely to be a number of different "chains" of consequences in each chart. To help decide which ones to write about and in what order, it helps if students number the chains before they start writing it as an explanation, discussion,essay, etc.

scale diagrams
Scale Diagrams

Scale diagrams help children visualize concepts of vast size.

mystery webs
Mystery Webs
  • Mystery webs are web diagrams that help with comprehension and learning. They are suitable for:

*creating curiosity about a new topic before you begin it

*revising a topic that has just been completed.


The day before you start atopic, jot down on a sheet of paper some of the key words or phrases that you expect to use when teaching this topic. The words should be well spaced out and in no particular order.


Make photocopies of the sheet and hand the copies around, so that the children can work in pairs.

Don't tell the children what this is all about! Say simply, "See if you can find any connections between the words. If you can think of a connection, draw an arrow and write the connection on it."

On the board show them an example of what you mean.


Arrows show the direction in which the sentences are to be read. For example, the arrow shows that we read from Earth to ice caps: "Earth has two ice caps."

  • As more arrows are added they will form a web.
  • Point out that if they can't fit a word into their web, the children should highlight that word with a question mark.
  • After they have had time to build their webs, ask the children to suggest what the mystery web is all about: "What would be a heading for this web?" Accept a variety of suitable answers: The Planets; The Earth in Space; Earth, Sun and Moon; and so on. Ask children to circle a word on the sheet that they think would be a good heading for the web.
  • Every web will look a little different. There will be many good results, all different. There is not a single correct answer. Here is one possible result:

In this example "planets" has been circled as the topic word, or heading. Blue has been used for connections the writer believes to be true. Red has been used for connections about which the writer is doubtful.

in conclusion
In Conclusion
  • Examples and ideas shown today have been taken from the excellent book by Steve Moline titled “I See What you Mean”.
  • I have used all these ideas in my teaching over the years since getting my original copy in 1995
  • The website that I used and on which you will be able to find more great ideas is: