Using Images to Teach Critical Thinking Skills
Visual Literacy and Digital Photography
by Diane M. Cordell
November 2015, 123pp, 7 x 10
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-4408-3515-5
$50, £39, 44€, A69
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3516-2
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To successfully participate in modern life, your students need to be fluent in visual literacy. This innovative book shows you how you can help.

Learn how to teach visual literacy through photography—an easy way for you to combine student interest with resources at hand to enhance a key learning skill.

Research indicates that 75 to 90 percent of classroom learning occurs through the visual system, making visual literacy a key component of information literacy and of critical thinking—a requirement throughout the Common Core standards. It’s no surprise then that visual literacy is increasingly recognized as a competency that should be part of every student’s skill set. Fortunately, this critical skill can be incorporated into existing curriculum, and this book shows you how to do just that.

Written for K–12 classroom teachers and librarians, this all-you-need-to-know volume discusses the importance of visual literacy in education and examines how it helps address current learning standards. The book shows you how to use photography and digital images to cultivate critical thinking, inquiry, and information literacy; provides examples of the use of photographic images in the classroom and in “real life”; and addresses how students can be ethical practitioners in a digital world. In addition, the book includes sample lessons you can easily implement, regardless of your level of technical and photographic expertise. A resource list of photo editing, curation, and museum sites is included.


  • Discusses visual literacy, critical thinking, and photography
  • Shows that librarians are often key to teaching and supporting visual literacy
  • Provides a nontechnical approach anyone can use
  • Fits with the popular makerspace movement
  • Offers activities with standards and essential questions to help teachers insert these suggested activities into their lesson plans
Diane M. Cordell is a retired K–12 teacher librarian who currently works as an education consultant and writer for CyberSmart Education Company. She contributed to the AASL White Paper "Educational Technology in Schools" as well as to Embedded Librarianship: Tools and Practices and School Libraries: What's Now, What's Next, What's Yet to Come. She also published "Create, Curate, Celebrate: Storytelling in the Library" in Library Media Connection. Cordell holds a master's degree in library science from Palmer School of Library and Information Science at Long Island University and a New York State Permanent Certification, School Media Specialist (Library).
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