Rebus stories and emails

For years, I’ve included graphics in my email messages. Why?

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Having researched imagery, I know if information is presented orally, people remember about 10%, tested 72 hours after exposure. That figure goes up to 65% if you add a picture. The more visual the input becomes, the more likely it is to be recognized and recalled. This is
known as the pictorial superiority effect; and it is why we scaffold with images for English language learners. As is the case with many SIOP (Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol) strategies, it is best practice.

rebusWhen crafting emails, I use imagery. When searching through the hundreds of thousands of emails I send and receive, my ability to pull an image from my mind’s eye increases significantly. Thus, I do the same for others as well.

But perhaps beyond my research, the roots run far deeper. When I was a child, my Aunt Nancy sent letters to me, but they were no ordinary letters. She crafted messages in rebus stories. Rebus stories use pictures in place of words throughout a story. The intent and purpose is to make reading fun, entertaining, and hopefully, help develop a love of reading. Receiving her letters was fun and entertaining. When visiting my parents’ home last, I found my baby book and copies of letters from my aunt. If you like my emails and find them at least fun and entertaining, you can thank my Aunt Nancy.


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