Art Can Promote Literacy
What is an Artistic Adventure? It's an outing devoted to
appreciating art in its many forms. Whether you visit a museum,
walk through a sculpture garden, or look at the architecture in
your hometown, you prepare children to tap into abilities
they'll need later in life. By encouraging children to analyze
what they see, you help them develop their imagination, critical
thinking skills, and powers of observation. You also broaden their
horizons and can inspire them to create masterpieces of their own.
And if that's not enough, Artistic Adventures even give you an
opportunity to build a child's literacy skills.
Artistic Adventures Can Promote
The next time you take children on an Artistic Adventure, try "reading" the works of art together. You'll help children
develop reading-related skills as they learn about the artist and
the people, places, and time period depicted in the artwork.
Like any school trip or family outing, Artistic Adventures can
engage children in a part of the world around them about which
they may have known little or nothing. These experiences can
inspire them to read about what they saw so they can learn more.
- Talk descriptively about what the artist created.
- Discuss the people, places, and things you see in the work
- Ask children to tell you what is happening or what is
depicted in the work of art.
- Learn about the artist and ask children to imagine what the
artist was thinking when he or she created the work of art.
- Prompt children to discuss what they like or dislike about
what they've seen.
- Ask children to talk about how the work of art makes them
feel or of what it reminds them.
- Encourage children to bring a notebook and jot down their
- Have children write a response to a particularly memorable
work of art when they get home.
- Encourage children to check out books from the library on
the artist or technique in which they demonstrated the most
Go on an Artistic Adventure
While picture books can have amazing art, there is nothing like
seeing great works in person. Use these suggestions to get the
most out of your next trip.
Before You Go:
- Leaf through art books at your local library, and check out
a few that might catch a childs eye. Let children pore over
the books at home.
- Identify a museum in your area that is appropriate for
children. Call the museum's education office with any
questions or concerns before you arrive.
- Coordinate with children's holiday schedules to travel to
new places and visit museums that complement what children are
- Review the museum's collection online to determine which
pieces or sections may be most age-appropriate and of most
interest to children.
- Visit the museum website together. Identify must-see pieces
to build excitement.
While You're There:
- Allow children to explore. Try not to hurry them from one
piece to another.
- Discuss background information about the artwork (e.g.,
time/era of the action in the piece, the artist's life,
artistic technique used, etc.).
- Make comparisons and connections between paintings and
children's experiences. Encourage children to develop a
personal connection to the art.
- Compare works to one another, and help children develop an
appreciation for the styles, techniques, or tools the artists
used to create their work.
After the Experience:
- Use the Internet or books at your local library to learn
more about artists, places and periods in history featured in
the artwork, and techniques the artists used. Children can
find out where the artist grew up and what he or she looked
like. They can also discover whether the place in the artwork
really exists, where it is, and how far it is from home.
- Give children opportunities to work in different media. For
example, they can make a sculpture by carving a bar of soap or
molding a piece of clay. They can add finishing touches with
paint or by gluing on small objects like paper clips, pompoms,
- Encourage children to write about or tell you what they saw,
enjoyed, learned, or didn't like.
- Send children's comments to the museum staff.
- Help children write a thank-you letter, especially if they
thought the museum was great!
- Encourage children to make an Artistic Adventure travel
journal and include sketches of different places or pieces of
art they saw. Children who can write should use words or
sentences as well as drawings to describe their experiences.
Try these tips for easily making art
available to your child:
1. Take advantage of children's programs at local museums.
These events are often free. Call the museum or visit their
website to find out what's available and when.
2. Keep art supplies accessible and well-stocked. Cover the
table and floor with newspaper so children can make a worry-free
mess when they create. Provide a variety of art supplies:
- Split open paper grocery bags or cardboard boxes to provide
new textures of paper for drawing.
- Keep egg cartons, and empty cardboard rolls from paper
towels and toilet tissue for crafts.
- Encourage children to use unusual paintbrushes: try
applying paint with pieces of plastic bags, sponges, or even
vegetables like squash or potatoes.
- Make three-dimensional art with toothpaste, glue, or chewing
gum or other substances around the house.
Source: RIF Parent Guide Brochure, http://www.rif.org