Art and Reading?  Do these two actually go together like peanut butter and jelly or cake and ice cream?  If so, How?

Art is a creative discipline and it is necessary to include it when helping a struggling reader learn to read when all he wants to do is draw.  Art, like any sports or learning to play an instrument, teaches self-discipline and self-confidence.

It is said that art can increase a person's critical thinking skills, however, there are no studies that can prove this. Think about this statement.

When a person, no matter the age, looks at a piece of art, s/he must think about what they are seeing.  What are the details:  colors used, textures that pop from the painting, what the artist is trying to portray as well as many other impressions that might go through one's mind.

Using Art to Teach Reading

There are so many examples I could give here but I will refrain myself to give just a couple of examples.

The National Gallery of Art is one site that has lesson plans for teachers for grades from K-12.  Some of these lesson plans focus just on an art project or teaching elements of art. 

The self portrait of Vincent Van Gogh is one of the lesson plans that is offered for free from The National Gallery of Art.  This lesson plan has students writing about their true character.

The next question would be "How does writing connect with reading?"

When students write, it helps their phonemic awareness development, especially in the early years.  As a student gets older, the writing synergy happens because as students are trying to sound out words as they try to spell words, they become more aware of how to decode unknown words when they are reading.

Another example of using art to teach reading/writing is this project using Monet's work.

When using this picture, the teacher can write out the questions about the picture. The students will increase their reading skills, critical thinking skills and writing skills as they not only look at the pictures but write out the answers.


Here is a great activity for those students who are art minded.  This is directions for making natural ink that can be used for painting.  Have the students read these instructions themselves.  This way they are practicing reading as they are getting ready for their art project.

The above was featured in Martha Stewart Living, July, 2017 edition.

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