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Writing + Art:

Story Illustrating


Today's Snack: We'll be drawing pictures of dogs today. So have a "pupsicle" - actually, a popsicle! - with the fruit that goes with everything, apple slices. If you really want to get in to today's theme, drink cold water - from a bowl, lapping it up like Man's Best Friend. ARF!




Drawing paper or plain laser paper | fine-line black marker or pencils

Lined loose-leaf paper and pencils



Kids are soooooo visual. More than adults, they think in pictures. That's because they don't have as many words as we do, to express ideas. So they kind of fill in the blanks with pictures.


If you have a student who's what they call "a reluctant writer" - (OK, if he or she throws things and pouts and stomps feet when asked to write something for school) - maybe a better way is to start with the visuals of the story, and THEN ask for the words to bring out the ideas in written form.


Since most kids like dogs, you might give everybody a piece of plain paper and a thin marker or pencil. Ask the students to draw a picture of a dog. As they draw, you can talk about the various features that go into the personality of a character or a story. As you talk to the kids and stretch their thinking, they will draw in details and maybe even speech bubbles, as the student artist did, above.


For example, ask them to consider what breed of dog they will draw; whether it will be a puppy, in its prime or an elderly dog; what kind of a setting or place the dog is in; what the dog's name is; what the owners are like if there are owners; what the dog's personality is like; whether there are any human "best friends" or other dogs or animals nearby; whether the dog has any kind of problem or emergency or need, and more questions like that.


You will be gently inspiring them to add more and more details to their illustration. Almost always, the kids will astound you with their imaginations.


When they are done, then hand them the lined paper, and ask them to write a story about the dog they just drew.


Try to get them to fill the whole page, but if a reluctant writer who otherwise won't even try to write one word happens to like dogs, he or she is likely to like this assignment . . . and write!


Kids who love to write may write you a NOVEL about their dog. But if reluctant writers can create a brief story about their dog with at least three sentences - a beginning, middle and end - he or she has done "DOGGONE" well.


By Susan Darst Williams Writing 2012

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