Literacy 7-12

Systems Change
Literacy 7-12 > Strategies > Pictures & Visuals

Pictures & Visuals


Using visual aids, such as pictures, diagrams, and charts, allows for additional processing time and supports learners by breaking down content and skills into more manageable parts. Visual aids also serve an important role in maintaining student Attention and are a touchpoint for students to refer back to on their own, as external memory aids and individual practice.

Use It in the Classroom

Watch how this teacher uses pictures to teach new Vocabulary. Using pictures, she leads students to think deeply and make multiple connections between the visuals and the meaning of the word.

  • Using visual aids can lead to clearer delivery of content and greater retention of key concepts in Long-term Memory. Teaching with content specific visuals can also help increase Disciplinary Literacy skills, particularly when teachers model how to navigate different diagrams and charts.
  • Design It into Your Product

    Videos are chosen as examples of strategies in action. These choices are not endorsements of the products or evidence of use of research to develop the feature.

    Learn how developers of InferCabulary created an app that uses visuals to teach Vocabulary. By presenting five related images, learners practice inferring the meaning of unfamiliar Vocabulary words. Seeing images in addition to text and audio captions further reinforces the definitions of the words, leading to greater retention in Long-term Memory.

  • For developers, creating visual aids that pair with media, such as text and audio, can make language more accessible to learners, particularly when introducing important Vocabulary. Meaningful visuals support learners' recognition of essential information, and providing a visual cue enhances a learner's ability to accurately retrieve the content associated with the visual.
  • Factors Supported by this Strategy