Art, Literacy, & Learning: Classroom Tips for Teachers
By Anna Reyner

Skill Based, Phonemic* Approach to Literacy


How to Use Art to Enhance a Skills Based, Phonemics Approach to Literacy


1.       Verbalize frequently as you demonstrate materials.


2.       Engage children in art process by using a rich vocabulary as you describe it.


3.       Talk about directionality, or left to right, as you demonstrate materials.


4.       Talk about position, or top to bottom, as you demonstrate materials.


5.       Demonstrate specific skills in using art materials and art tools – teach technique.


6.       Show steps and progression in use of tools to create more complex art effects.


7.       Decode art as you decode language – show whole to part elements (negative/positive space, figure/ground).


8.       Teach Visual Literacy: Discuss shape, color and composition as elements of a visual language.


*Phonemic awareness, or the ability to hear and manipulate the separate sounds in words, is a prerequisite for phonics knowledge (understanding that letters stand for the sounds in spoken words).



Integrated Language Arts Approach to Literacy


How to Use Art to Enhance an Integrated Language Arts Approach to Literacy

1.       Create stories in response to pictures – and pictures in response to stories.


2.       Read poems, sing songs, then follow with a picture –a multi-sensory approach fosters “rich mental models.”


3.       Teach reflection & reasoning. Stop a story before the ending. Have children paint their idea for an ending.


4.       Engage in child centered conversations about stories, then follow with spontaneous artwork.


5.       Teach concept development and story progression, then create artwork that shows a visual story or progression.


6.       Generate creative ideas and imagery. Draw “what if?” or “what’s next?” or “the best thing that could happen.”


7.       Use texture paintings to inspire ideas, imagery, and stories.


8.       Recognize that art engages many different learning styles.


9.       Question, share, value and engage as you view each child’s art.


Anna Reyner, M.A., is a dynamic creative arts instructor who is known for motivating people to get excited about their own creativity. She has presented workshops and keynotes on art therapy and imagination arts at more than 200 state, national, and international conferences.