Drawing in Kindergarten: The Link to Learning in Reading

Drawing in Kindergarten: The Link to Learning in Reading

Gretta Wright (LaGrange College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1727-6.ch002


Teachers today are faced with the ever-growing challenge of meeting the needs of students in diverse school environments. Students continually come to school lacking the academic skills necessary for school success. As a result, many of these students become disengaged in learning at an early age and are targeted as potential drop-outs before they reach middle school. Through the discussion provided in this chapter, the researcher intends to create a connection between the inclusion of drawing in the kindergarten classroom and success in the development of early reading skills, capitalizing on the idea that through the engagement students experience when drawing, they are becoming active participants in the learning process and are more likely to experience school success in later years.
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Background Of Art In Education

Art has long been valued in society for the aesthetic value that it brings. Historically, however, art was considered as only for the elite of society, and was reserved for those who could afford private tutors to provide instruction in the arts. Horace Mann, in the late 1800s, introduced the idea of including music and visual arts in the public schools (Bowen, Greene, & Kisida, 2015; Melnick, Witmer, & Strickland, 2011). This idea was furthered by John Dewey who noted that inclusion of the arts provided a strong and positive link between the arts and the cognitive activities related to learning in the other disciplines and promoted a more holistic approach to education (Kakas, 2010). According to Melnick, et al. (2011), students engaged in the arts display higher levels of academic achievement, across multiple content areas. As a result, realizing the cognitive benefits the arts offer, educators began integrating art into other curriculum areas in the 1990s. Since that time, school systems across the nation have fought to maintain instruction in the arts during times of financial crisis, some more successfully than others.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Visualization: A reading comprehension strategy that requires students to develop a mental picture to represent what they are reading.

Critical Thinking Skills: Higher order thinking skills that require students to connect classroom learning experiences across academic disciplines and within the framework of real-life experiences and expectations.

Engagement: The process by which students become active participants in the learning process.

Art Integration: The inclusion of art within the context of traditional curriculum in academic disciplines.

Achievement Gap: The difference in levels of learning acquisition, as measured by standardized testing, between identified groups of students.

Academic Achievement: The level of learning obtained by a student as compared to grade level standards.

Disadvantaged Students: Students identified as living at or below the poverty level who are lacking in experiences and resources that are readily made available to their peers who have access to more resources.

Artful Teacher: A teacher who thinks like an artist, focusing on depth of understanding, and encourages students to engage in art explorations in academic disciplines.

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