In an introduction paragraph of the writing domain of the Texas Pre-Kindergarten Guidelines it states, "as young children understand that marks convey meaning (what they think, they can say; and what they say, they can write), it is important to model that writing is not simply about a product.” This statement closely parallels the practices I have shared in previous posts on storytelling and drawing where I speak to the importance of not only letting children tell stories but also supporting them in becoming detailed drawers. After students become confident and skilled storytellers (what they think they can say), we want to move them from oral stories to stories on paper (what they say they can write). Following the important idea of “beginning with the end in mind” and starting with what children can do, we start with stories on paper through drawings.
This past Saturday I presented a session on drawing to a group of Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten educators. The ideas shared were from the book, Talking, Drawing, Writing: Lessons for Our Youngest Writers, by Martha Horn and Mary Ellen Giacobbe. This session was focused on the educator’s role in teaching drawing skills that promote an intense eye for detail while still allowing children the freedom to express their creativity. In the beginning of the session, most of the educators in the group stated that they could not draw. By the end of the session, we had a room full of artists! One of the skills we discussed was drawing circles and ovals. The image displayed with this post shows various people that the participants drew during the session. We came to the consensus that if you can draw an oval, you can draw anything! Pull out a picture book and look at some of the illustrations. Even though you cannot see individual circles and ovals, the illustrator probably used them in their original sketch!
In the words of our state guidelines, “what they think, they can say; and what they say, they can write.” If we believe that drawing is writing, we need to give our children information on drawing well just as we do with writing words. In early childhood, drawing makes it possible for children to tell deeper, more involved stories than they are capable of writing with text. So get out the drawing materials and have some fun with your storytelling artists!
Continue to join me in this blog series focused on the steps leading toward the end goal of children telling thier stories through written text. My next post will focus on writing as the final stepping stone in learning to write.
Giacobbe, M. & Horn, M. (2007). Talking, Drawing, Writing: Lessons for Our Youngest Writers. Stenhouse Publishers.