If there is one thing I love even more than art it is books. Picture books to be exact...so I guess that is books and art. But I am the most avid reader I know aside from my husband (who is reading next to me right now). Thank goodness I find joy in pursuing kids books because our school improvement plan over the last three years has focused intensely on improving student literacy, particularly student writing skills.
While I do make attempts to get the students writing during my class (as much as one can when already trying to cram an art project into a 20 min long class), I've decided to focus on integrating children's literature into my curriculum. I think using books to ground your curriculum comes with some wonderful benefits.
*Starting class with a book gives students a set structure. It gives students who struggle with transitions a time to calm themselves and focus before attempting an art task.
*Reading a book gives all students at least some background to draw from for the technique or theme you are working with. I feel it levels the playing field a bit.
*It is excellent for my English language learners (and all students) to hear a story being read aloud with correct pronunciation, timing and expressiveness.
*Unlike a single art poster, you average picture book offers 10+ visual images of inspiration
*Reading stories in the art room introduces students to new authors and makes them more aware of using the pictures that accompany a book's story to help them decode the content of the story.
There are so many amazing books out there and I know lots of us use picture books in our curriculum. There is one book that I have recently stumbled upon that I have never seen discussed on any art blogs and it is called Alphabesties: And Other Amazing Types.
All the animals in this book are made up with the letter that their name starts with in different fonts. I think these are so cool and plan to use this book for both younger and upper (middle school) projects. I would really like to tie in the idea of contour line drawing and then filling the space with typography. Older students will need to fill their drawing with descriptive words along with one letter.
I can't wait to see what wonderful art this book will inspire! If you are looking for this book at your library here is a hint, I did not find it in the art area, but instead in the language area.