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Talking, Drawing, Writing Chapter 3: Drawing

I'm back for Chapter 3!  Sorry it's a day late, I had an interview yesterday and couldn't concentrate on anything else!  I'm getting observed this Friday for an hour before they make their final decision so PLEASE keep me in your prayers this week friends!

Here's what stuck with me from Chapter 3:

  • For young children, drawing is writing.  
  • Drawing is how young children represent and understand meaning.  (For example, my students almost always first start making connections to text through illustrations.  Even now they tend to base predictions of books based more on the cover than the actual title).
  • Drawing is an essential step in language development (particularly in connecting thought and speech).
  • Drawing allows children to go deeper in their stories!
I definitely need to teach about drawing next year.  It's the primary way in which my four year-olds communicate!  Frankly, I'm amazed they developed as much as they did considering I never did a single mini-lesson on drawing.  I'd like you to take a look at the incredible difference one of my authors made in the short space of a month.

The first book by this particular author was definitely interesting!  It contained mostly scribbles and he was unable to recall what he had drawn afterwards.  There wasn't much story structure (notice it is missing a resolution or ending).  He didn't enjoy making books and seldom chose to do so; when he did he hurried through.

The first thing I had to do was validate his identity as an author.  He shared during Author Share the same as everyone else, received feedback, and gradually came to see himself as a writer.  I accepted his approximations and met him where he was at.  My first major teaching point was that pictures match the story in a book!  Not only did I mention this in his individual conferences, but I pointed this out during Read Alouds.  A few weeks later he produced this work...

See the difference?  Wow!  He was consciously connecting his thoughts to his drawing on the paper.  Yay!

P.S. Note that I never write in student books until they have been shared in Author Share and are ready to go home!  From the beginning I communicate to my students that they are responsible for remembering the meaning of their story and for writing a story that communicates meaning to their readers!

So how can I do a better job of supporting students as illustrators next year?  Basically the authors suggest LET CHILDREN DRAW!  Let them draw a variety of objects (real and imaginary), across all content areas, all day long.  Be a role-model for learning and drawing yourself!  I can't WAIT to read Chapter 4 and get some great lessons about the craft of drawing!

The following books are great for teaching kids of various ages how to draw, but are my favorite with young artists!  Check out the entire series for each title below!

Also, Nicole from Steele Teaching shared a GREAT resource from Mrs. Miner that you won't want to miss- Guided Drawing Lessons with a Literacy Twist!


  1. I think I need to buy this book! I have just started a drawing workshop where I guide the kids step by step through a simple drawing then follow it with a writing mini lesson. The kids are loving it!

    1. It is an amazing book! I can't believe I never thought of some of the stuff inside before! :)

  2. Your student showed great growth in his illustrations. You must have done an amazing job modeling and giving your students time to draw. Do you have any read alouds that you would recommend to use with K students to discuss illustrations?

    1. Thanks Deb! The funny thing is I never did a mini-lesson drawing! All I did was notice pictures matching the story in text and drew students' attention to it. I love Mo Willems books because, as Mo himself says, the pictures look like things children realistically could draw themselves. He also includes lots of great illustrating details- like the dark cloud scribble above pigeon's head when he's angry! My kids also really connect to these books because they're funny. I would definitely check out In Pictures and In Words by Katie Wood Ray for better advice than I can give! :)

    2. I started reading In Pictures and In Words last fall, but since it was my first year in K I didn't get that far. I will pick it up again! I will add Mo Willems to my must "read aloud" list! Thank You!

  3. Jess, another fabulous post! Best wishes on your observation and on getting the job! Prayers are headed your way. You are one of the best early childhood teachers out there and you would be an asset to any school.

    Thanks for the tip on the book idea.

    1. Thank you! :) It went well so now I am just hoping and praying to hear soon!

  4. Hey I am following and reading the book study for Talking, Writing, Drawing! Somehow I missed the Chapter 2 info. Could you send me the link for chapter 2? Thanks! Cheryl

  5. I am just now seeing the link to the right of my post on your blog...oops! Really enjoying the reading and can't wait to start with my class in August!

    1. I know, I can't wait either! :) Glad you found it!

  6. Thanks so much for linking up! I love, love the amazing growth that your little guy showed! I will definitely be doing more author sharing this year. Plus I love that you use books for the kids. I've used a writers notebook/folder for the past two years. I want to have them create more books. What a wonderful write up!

  7. Do you ever experience any resistance from your children when you ask them to draw? If so, how do you handle it? I teach four and five year olds and getting them to draw their own pictures is like pulling teeth! I am usually told, "I don't know how to draw that" or "Can you draw that for me?" I ask them to try their best and think about what the object looks like or offer we look at a book so we could describe the object together. I have one little girl in particular, even with my guidance, gets defeated when she looks at her drawing and sees it doesn't look like the real thing. She often cries (she's my little drama mama!) and asks for a new paper because what she made "doesn't look good". I would love to start a writing workshop program with my children but getting them to draw their own illustrations seems like just a challenge. Any advice or suggestions you could offer would be so helpful!


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