One of the concepts that struck me most about VTS in the first video was the idea of taking what are categorized as “thinking skills”—observation, drawing conclusions, inference, arguing in evidence, elaboration, revision—and using them as the foundation to discuss art. Another point that resonated was the idea of flexible thinking. Students can use these thinking skills to have fluid and flexible discussions about what they see and what they infer, knowing that there is no real correct answer. This type of discussion fosters creativity, helps them develop language skills, and encourages deeper observation and critical thinking.
VTS is a natural part of teaching early learners. Students who are at the pre-reading and early reading stages are dependent on illustrations to help inform their comprehension and give them clues about difficult words. As a kindergarten teacher, I spend a lot of time facilitating discussions about illustrations, encouraging students to look for deeper meaning and context clues, make inferences, and draw conclusions based on what they see in the picture.
I found this article about using VTS to support reading intervention. I like the idea of asking three simple questions, and then truly only acting as a facilitator of the discussion as students engage in conversation about what they see. “What’s going on in this picture? What do you see that makes you say that? And what more can we find? The teacher is trained to listen, paraphrase, and link.” Continuing to use this strategy and perhaps even using the method outlined in this article to make it more formulaic will only have a positive impact on early readers’ comprehension and expression skills.
I like the idea that you found to improve comprehension. It is something that can be used for preschool students and beginning readers. It allows them to provide reasons and see if they are interpreting pictures in correspondence with words. Defending how they decoded a word based on picture clues can also be beneficial.