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Visual Literacy

An increasing focus on visual communication—through intersecting developments in transnational media, the Internet, television, and film—makes critical analysis and comprehension of the image world a high priority for educators. Visual literacy traces its roots to linguistic literacy, based on the idea that educating people to understand the codes and contexts of language leads to an ability to read and comprehend written and spoken verbal communication.

Some theorists equate the linguistic text and the visual quite directly, whereas others seek an alternate discursive space for visual literacy. The theorist Richard Howells, for example, is in the former group, arguing that reading an image involves the same complex system of decoding that reading a written text entails. Howells warns of a visual illiteracy that is presented ...

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