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Integrating Writing and Drawing

Writing and Drawing
The Progression of Language Arts Skills

Drawing can be a useful tool to help develop speaking, reading and writing skills. The progression of language arts skills goes something like this:

Speech — Talk About the Drawing Talk with a child about their drawing. It may be the foundation for a conversation with a quiet child. For a talkative child, the drawing can be used to help focus their verbal skills. Prompt the conversation with questions, such as, Where is the bird flying? What is the boy doing? Is it a hot day or a cold day?

Letter Formation — Write the Letter Show the children how to correctly form and pronounce the letter. Combine blended letters, like “th”. Words — Write the Word Show the children how to correctly form and pronounce each letter in a word. Help them correctly space the letters.


Sentences — Write Short Sentences Demonstrate how to write a short sentence, such as “Hens lay eggs.” Highlight the basic parts of a sentence:
  • The first letter of the first word in a sentence is a capital letter.
  • Spaces separate words.
  • A period is at the end of the sentence.
As the children become more comfortable with writing, have them practice by copying two to four sentences. The Draw Write Now lessons have four short sentences. Change the sentence so that they are appropriate to the child’s skill level, but keep the sentences short and fairly simple. Self-Editing — For the Child Who Loves to Write Does the child love to write, but spelling and paragraph structure needs improvement? After the child writes about their drawing, have them select several sentences from the story, then correct any spelling or grammar errors in those sentences. EXTRA: The corrected sentences may be rewritten on a fresh sheet of paper, with the focus on the child using their best handwriting. The Child Who Does Not Want to Write

Have the child copy the sentences shown in the Draw Write Now lesson with you. Work for success, but push them a bit. If you know they can write one sentence, have them write one sentence plus one more short sentence. Lesson to lesson, increase the amount of writing. If they balk, use the coloring time as an incentive — remind them that you’ll bring out the crayons (or color pencils, watercolors, etc.) after the sentences are finished.

Composition — Write a Story About Your Drawing

The background drawing that the child adds can be very interesting and sometimes is the perfect writing prompt. As the child composes the story, allow them to write quickly to get their ideas on paper. This is not a time to stress careful handwriting!

Grammar Exercise After drawing a picture, provide the children with another sheet of paper and ask them to write all the nouns in their drawing. Another time, have them write all the verbs or all the adjectives. Write a Paragraph or Report Encourage independent research and study. Have the child write a paragraph or more about the subject they have just drawn. 

One parent’s approach is to bring out the Draw Write Now set of books, announce the theme, such as “spring”, then instructs her three boys to each choose a drawing lesson that makes them think of spring. Flipping through the books, they each choose a different one, such as a rabbit, a bird and a boat. After drawing their pictures, they write about the drawing with a springtime setting.
“It’s not hard to show a child how to form letters and write sentences. The challenge is motivating them to practice regularly and carefully.”— Marie Hablitzel
Tyler, age 5
“Demonstrate the relationship between speech and writing. Sit beside the child and ask them to tell you about their drawing. Write their story, then read the story back to the child, pointing to each word as you read.”— Kim Stitzer

Matthew, age 7

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