Posted by: cindybiz | April 7, 2010

“Visual Acuity”….what???

I heard this term used a number of years ago by a kindergarten teacher. She said it was important for kids to master this skill. She was referring, mostly, to the necessity for a child to learn to distinguish between his “b”s and “d”s as well as his “p”s and “q”s. Makes sense. I wondered if there was more to it, so I started to do some research…very interesting! Here is the definition of “Visual Literacy”, which encompasses a lot of interesting concepts!

Visual Literacy: “A group of acquired competencies for interpreting and composing visible messages. A visually literate person is able to: (a) discriminate, and make sense of visible objects as part of a visual acuity, (b) create static and dynamic visible objects effectively in a defined space, (c) comprehend and appreciate the visual testaments of others, and (d) conjure objects in the mind’s eye.” Brill, Kim and Branch (2000)

Wow! It sure IS much bigger than I first thought! And when I thought about it, important as we live in such a highly visual world!  But where do  you start if we want our children to be fluent in this kind of literacy? How do we ensure that our children have a good visual vocabulary? By practicing it!!

One of the things I love about Usborne Books is the fact that there is a lot to do in each book. It is rare that a book can be taken at face value…there is ALWAYS more to it than just a story! When you look at a book like “First 1000 Words,” you will find a picture to look at and discuss…and you also have a little yellow duck to find. This is one of the first tools to teach your child visual discrimination. That little duck is hiding in all kinds of places and yet your child can still recognize him as a duck! Bingo…you are on your way to success! Take the next step and add in finding a bird…there are a few of them in the book, all different, but all birds…keep that searching/recognizing going! This book is excellent for this…and for a little older, move up to Great Animal Search where the searching is harder…and so is the learning! (there are a lots of other too, but you get the idea…)

This is just one important aspect of visual literacy…there are many more…maybe I will pick another one for another blog post. If you want more information now, I came across a chart that has all kinds of things that show how important this concept is…and ways to practice it. Check it out: Periodic Table of Visualization Methods See what I mean? We use this type of literacy all the time and don’t even think about it.

What is the simplest thing you can do? Head to the library and find some great search books! I, personally, love all the Usborne ones, but I suspect there are many others that also use this idea of exercising your child’s brain. And when you find something, be sure to let everyone know so we can check it out too!

Want more information on this topic? Look here: Visual Literacy

Photo Credit: Robin Saylor



  1. I found that Usborne Books are also amazing with developing meta-language. When chldren have a strong meta-language base it is easier for them to read, decode words, build meaning of those words and write rich stories. Thank-you Usborne Books for creating such wonderful books for chldren.

    • Thanks for your comments…Usborne books do SO MUCH more than is seen at first glance, for sure!

  2. We have LOVED the Usborne search books here for years…who knew that we were mastering the Visual Acuity skill??!!

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