Did you know that art and reading are related? That children who receive regular drawing instruction do better with learning to read, creating their letters, and later on in their school career score higher on the MEAP tests than children who don’t have regular art experiences?
There is a children’s book illustrator and educator who is actually doing something about this. Her name is Wendy Halperin Anderson. Wendy is an acclaimed artist who has illustrated dozens of children’s books, including Let’s go Home by Cynthia Rylant, Soft House by Jane Yolen, and Turn, Turn, Turn! by Pete Seger. Wendy has also written three books of her own, the latest being Peace, which has its own website. And guess what, Wendy lives right here in Michigan, in South Haven.
I had the privilege of speaking with Wendy last week via phone while I was doing some research on illustrating children’s books. I had chosen Wendy to investigate because I was attracted to and admire her art work in children’s books. But I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Wendy has a wonderful program going on that teaches teachers and children to draw. She works with the school system in her area. Wendy strongly believes that a child’s first experience with art is when he/she is attempting to create the letters of the alphabet. It’s all related, according to Wendy, trying to make the curved lines, the grip of the pencil, the eye hand coordination, etc. Obviously research supports her efforts. If you want to investigate this further, and find out for yourself, please go to her website, Drawing Children into Reading. I guarantee you will find it fascinating. And while you are at it, type in her name, and see her beautiful art work in the many books she has illustrated. I believe Wendy also conducts drawing workshops, and if so, this would be covered in her website as well.
I greatly admire Wendy, and hope not only to attend one of her workshops, but meet her in person one day soon.
Let me know what you think of her ideas and artwork!