Connecting art and literacy

July 20, 2017

Newaygo Public Schools

Last spring, third and fourth graders from Velma Matson Upper Elementary in Newaygo excitedly welcomed a crowd of parents and grandparents to their very own book release party.

The “Author Celebration” was the culmination of an innovative program to incorporate drawing, reading, writing, and history. It was funded by a grant from the Community Foundation.

From October to March, children’s book illustrator Lori Eslick visited two classrooms each
week armed with art supplies and brimming with creativity. She helped students create sketches based on local history. Then, with help from Lori and their teachers, students wrote and illustrated their own books. The process gave students the opportunity to explore new skills and gain confidence in reading and writing.

“My favorite part is seeing kids who love to write,” said teacher Jill Young. “It’s given them a lot more confidence. I’m seeing more detail, complexity, and length in their writing now. Everything about it was positive.”