SchoolArts Magazine

SUM 2017

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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36 SUMMER 2017 SchoolArts A child's first encounters with works of art are often those found in picture books, where words and illustrations blend to create more than just a story. Pic - ture books can teach basic concepts, r einforce comforting emotions, or spur imagination. They take the reader to places near and far, leaving lasting impressions. Whether at home or in schools, picture books, read aloud or independently, form the foundation of verbal and visual literacy experiences. Throughout my years of teaching, I've celebrated the power of the pic- Julia L. Hovanec ture book as a catalyst for critically looking at visual images and draw- ing connections between art and l iteracy. One of my favorite lessons involves the creation of a reading carpet that serves as an homage to a favorite picture book. Acquiring Carpets While basic 21 x 34" (53 x 86 cm) or smaller carpets can be found at most discount stores or purchased in bulk online, obtaining enough for each stu- dent can be a challenge. If the budget doesn't allow for individual carpets, the lesson and project can be adapted for one large area rug, sectioned off with masking tape. I have also found that carpet stores often willingly donate carpet sample squares. Recalling Favorite Literature To create the reading carpets, students start by recalling and reflecting upon a favorite picture book, one that the stu- dent feels has left a mark on his or her l ife. To assist with this recollection, I use guided imagery to take students on a virtual field trip to their favorite reading space. This exercise works Literary Treasures E A R L Y C H I L D H O O D

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