When I was in school, my teachers would never allow us to read comic books because they weren’t “real books”. Everyone knew that picture books were for just for little kids. Once you learned to read, you didn’t need the pictures anymore.
By the time I became a teacher, schools were increasingly concerned with visual literacy. An astounding number of American adults couldn’t read a map, or even identify their own country. Many think technology is to blame, with smartphones and GPS, people simply didn’t need map-skills the way they once had.
As a special education teacher, I learned the value of images for learning. Visual learning is more than just another learning style. For many of my students, pictures were their only means of communication – I had to find ways of teaching that combined images and hands-on learning.
Today, kids check out graphic novels from their school library, and Barnes & Noble just announced they’re adding a children’s graphic novel section to their stores. Teachers ask their students to draw pictures, and even create their own comic strips to demonstrate the concepts they’ve learned.
Having left teaching, I now spend my days scouring the internet as a research intern at NowSourcing. I can’t help but think the internet is the reason for our newfound focus on visual learning and literacy. Today the internet is more visual than ever. From selfies, to pictures of our food, social media is becoming more reliant on images. Infographics let adults learn through pictures the same way children do – with pictures that not only make reading more interesting, but add meaning as well.
Marguerite Kinne is a Research Intern at NowSourcing.