Why Visual Literacy?

Using visual images in the classroom supports research on successful methodologies for teaching adult second language literacy learners. The visual images in our Eye on Literacy books provide opportunities for adult literacy leaners to develop their communication skills by hearing new language before they say it as they engage in the speaking and listening process. For those learners with limited oral language, the teacher plays a critical role in oral development. Hearing and saying the language becomes the initial focus as students engage with Eye On Literacy books for the first time through informal and guided discussion techniques. Vocabulary is generated through this interaction and leads into the development of the learners’ reading and writing skills.

Research findings show that focusing on oral language skills through learner-generated texts creates texts that are comprehensible and meaningful. (Liden, Poulos, and Vinogradov, 2008) The scaffolding process starts from the students’ language; introducing print through building on background knowledge. The Canadian Language Benchmarks 2000: ESL for Literacy Learners recommends using pictures and symbols as clues to meaning as a pre-reading strategy. Our Eye on Literacy books are visual-rich resources that have been developed in support of this recommendation.

Our premise is to contribute to a well balanced program with level appropriate, engaging resources that provide an additional means to reaching common learner outcomes for adult second language literacy learners.

We would like to acknowledge some of the individuals and organizations that have worked tirelessly creating awareness, conducting research, and demonstrating good teaching practices in the field of Adult EAL Literacy.

We encourage educators to visit the following websites:

Bow Valley
Canadian Language Benchmarks


Vinogradov, P. & Bigelow, M. (2010) Using Oral Language Skills to Build on the Emerging Literacy of Adult English Learners. CAELA Network Brief. Retrieved from www.cal.org/caelanetwork.

Johansson, L. et al (2000) Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks. Canadian Language Benchmarks 2000: ESL for Literacy Learners language. With the learners and the teacher talking about the images together, hearing and saying the language becomes the primary focus. Vocabulary is generated through this interaction.

Comments are closed.