Symbols In Education

Symbols for Literacy

We have used symbols for many years, as signage in the environment, and as a means of supporting conversation for people who have communication difficulties.

The use of symbols as a tool for literacy is more recent.

Symbols used for signage and on communication boards often represent a complete idea. Symbols used to support literacy are different. Each symbol represents a single concept or idea:

Symbol sentence


An illustration or photograph may contain too much information

photo, illustation and symbol

  • A picture gives a lot of detail
  • An illustration is simpler, but still has detail.
  • A symbol is a representation of a single idea.

Each of these has a different purpose.


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