According to development theory and research, children must master visual skills before they can even begin to develop verbal skills--some theorists even argue that visual skills are a necessary foundation for later speech and reading skills. A child looks at the world and is forced to identify objects and make sense of what he or she sees. Mommy and Daddy's faces become distinct objects, children learn to distinguish things that are other than themselves and to recognize unique characteristics that allow them to identify objects. Being able to identify and understand these kinds of symbols directly relates to childrens' later development of the ability to understand and interpret verbal symbols and cues through speaking and reading.
Visual literacy is important in multiple ways: