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Illustrating to Build Reading Skills

Illustrating to Build Reading Skills: Visualization is an important skill for reading and illustrating is one of the best ways I know to encourage visualization. This post has several suggestions for connecting reading skills with illustrating.

Illustrating is a great way to build reading skills!

I often have my students do some illustrating when I want to make sure they really "get" a concept.  

It forces them to visualize what they're learning.  
Brain research tells us that visualizing helps the memory and deepens understanding. 
Brain research also tells us that adding an element of fun helps them remember as well... and don't kids love to draw? 

Add some classical music in the background, and the brain is more activated! 
Want to add a little more assurance that the kids are learning?  
Let them talk about what they're drawing and why!

I have several resources I use with my students that get the kiddos illustrating.

Figurative Language can be very tricky for little ones to learn! It takes a lot of conversation before they are ready to illustrate, but it's important that they "get" these confusing phrases. Once the instruction happens, the illustration really helps them to GET it!

There's this Mini-book about Healthy Habits.  
This resource is the result of much research on health and children. It has 10 pages written in child friendly language.

My own students have been working on this one this week, and have come up with some incredible ideas!

I also have a set of homophones for the children to illustrate.  These can be tricky for most kids, but in order to draw the different meanings, they have to deeply understand the different meanings.  

That involves a lot of conversation as well as thinking, but once they've got it, they've GOT it!  

As children are "social animals", they tend to remember not only their own pair of homophones, but the homophones their friends did as well!

I've got another set of word pairs for illustrating as well... these are homographs!  Just like the homophones, these are tricky, but once they've got them, they've GOT them!

Another advantage to these individual sheets that the children illustrate... they make great visual displays for bulletin boards!  I've had many compliments on the work of my students on these!

They also make awesome class books!

Another advantage?  These are great for the sub tub!  Just run off the set and leave it in the emergency sub folder!  Plus, they work for a variety of ages and levels.  (Fifth graders are NOT too old to draw, they love it!)

Of course, any illustrating is enhanced by music. May I suggest this one?  (Click image for a link to Amazon!)

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