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Visual Text Comprehension: 3 Things Every Student Must Know

Both Primary and Secondary schools in Singapore incorporate  Visual Text Comprehension (VTC) as a part of the English examination. VTC helps kids understand messages from pictures mixed with words, like in adverts or even social media posts . It’s all about looking at the picture, reading the words, and figuring out the main message. This helps them not just in exams but in understanding the world around them.

In this article, we’ll dive into Visual Text Comprehension. We’ll explore what it is, why it’s essential, and what students need to know to do well. This guide will help shed light on this  segment of the Singapore English curriculum.

Understanding Visual Texts

Visual Text combines pictures and words to share information. For instance, advertisements use pictures,  and words to convey a specific message or sway the audience. Images and words work together to grab the audience’s attention, fulfil specific goals, and create a unified message.

Visual Text Comprehension is crucial as it helps students make sense of messages shown through pictures and words. 

For example, It helps them to figure out what advertisers are trying to do and say. Getting good at understanding Visual Text means students can see why some adverts work well, and others don’t. It gives them the tools to know how words and pictures work together to share a message.

1. Purpose Question: What Purposes Do Visual Texts Serve?

Understanding the purpose of a Visual Text is crucial for tackling ‘Purpose’ questions in exams. In these questions, students are often asked what the Visual Text tries to achieve. Is it trying to teach something? Or is it trying to persuade or warn its readers? 

To answer these questions correctly, students need to consider a few things:

  • Audience: Who is this Visual Text meant for? Knowing the target audience can give clues about the purpose.
  • Verbs and Actions: What actions or ideas are suggested by the verbs in the text? For example, words like “buy” or “avoid” can hint at the text’s intent.
  • Expected Response: How should the audience feel or think after seeing the Visual Text? Should they be concerned, happy, or motivated to do something?

When preparing for exams, practising looking at the pictures and words in a Visual Text is essential. Both elements work together to send a message. Carefully studying how they interact allows students to understand the text’s purpose better and answer the ‘Purpose’ questions more confidently during the exam.

2. Language-Based Questions: How Is Language Utilised?

Another important subject to tackle in Visual Text Comprehension is language. Language-based questions focus on specific words or phrases to see how they grab the reader’s attention and make the message clearer.

For instance, when words like ‘You’ or ‘I’ pop up in the text, it’s like the text is speaking directly to the student. This direct approach makes the message feel personal and more engaging.

It’s not just about spotting these words, though. Students need to think about why these words are there. What’s the intention behind them? How do they fit with the main message or theme of the Visual Text?

By getting to grips with these language techniques, students can better understand the deeper meaning behind the text. This understanding is crucial for answering language-based questions confidently and accurately.

3. Image-Based Question: How Do Images Support The Message?

Students will also often encounter image-based questions that focus on the role of pictures in conveying a message. These questions require students to think deeply about how pictures enhance or support the words in the text.

For example, a picture of a distressed elephant might be used to highlight the tragic effects of illegal ivory trading. Such powerful images can evoke strong emotions and make the message more memorable.

To tackle these questions effectively, students should practise describing the pictures in detail and explaining how they link to the words. It’s not just about what’s in the picture but also about the feelings it evokes.

The sequence and details in an image can tell a story on their own. A picture with someone looking down  might suggest someone is worried, while a picture with a thumbs up could indicate success or an achievement.

Students need to notice these details and think long and hard about why they’ve been included in the exam. By understanding how pictures and words team up, students can get a clearer idea of the Visual Text’s central message and the emotions it’s trying to stir, helping them confidently answer image-based questions.

Conclusion On Visual Text Comprehension

Visual Text Comprehension depends on more than just understanding images or words alone. It’s also about recognising how these work together to convey deeper messages and emotions. 

Mastering VTC is essential for students, as it prepares them for exams and equips them with skills to approach a media-rich world with discernment.

Need expert guidance for your child? Enrol them today in Singapore’s best English tuition centre: DO Applied Learning by Epoch Talent Academy! 

At its helm is  Teacher Daniel, who possesses the expertise to elevate your child’s skills, ensuring they confidently and clearly approach Visual Texts and other crucial topics like Situational Writing, Synthesis and Transformation, and more.

Schedule a consultation today.

Frequently Asked Questions About Visual Text Comprehension

Why Is Understanding The Audience Crucial In VTC?

Understanding the audience is crucial in VTC because it helps students grasp who the Visual Text is speaking to. Students can better understand the message’s tone, purpose, and intent by identifying the target audience. 

For instance, an advert targeting children might use big bold text and simple language, while one for adults might be more sophisticated. Recognising this helps students answer questions more accurately.

How Do Verbs Provide Clues About A Visual Text’s Intent?

Verbs, or action words, often directly hint at what the Visual Text wants the audience to think or do. For example, words like “discover” or “join” might suggest an invitation or exploration, while “avoid” or “stop” can indicate a warning. 

Why Is It Important To Assess The Pictures In Detail For VTC?

Pictures often carry a significant part of the Visual Text’s message. By assessing them in detail, students can uncover deeper meanings and emotions that might not be evident in the words alone. Exam questions might ask about specific elements in the pictures, so being able to describe and interpret them is critical to scoring well, especially in Secondary school.

How Do Images And Words Work Together In VTC?

In VTC, images and words complement each other to convey a complete message. While words provide direct information or instructions, images can set the mood, evoke emotions, or offer visual examples. Together, they provide a richer, more comprehensive understanding of the text’s intent.

What’s The Difference Between Visual Text Comprehension And Regular Comprehension?

Regular comprehension focuses mainly on understanding and interpreting written texts. In contrast, Visual Text Comprehension (VTC) requires students to interpret both images and words and understand how they interact. VTC is more about grasping the combined message of visuals and text, making it a unique skill.

How Can My Child Improve In Understanding The Purpose Of Visual Texts?

To improve in understanding the purpose of Visual Texts, your child can practise by regularly analysing advertisements, posters, or infographics they come across in real-world situations. 

Ask them to identify the main message, the target audience, and how images and words work together. Over time, with consistent practice and feedback, they’ll become more adept at discerning the purpose, which will benefit them.

Are There Common Themes Or Topics In Visual Text Questions?

Yes, in the VTC section, there are recurring themes or topics that reflect real-world issues or general knowledge suitable for the student’s age. 

These might include environmental concerns, societal values, health and wellness, or school-related topics. Familiarising with these themes can give students a head start in understanding and interpreting the Visual Texts they encounter in the exam.

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