Most young children love to draw and they all need to learn to write. However, despite the research over the past 30 years which identifies a strong relationship between emergent writing and drawing, in some classrooms young children are being obliged to see drawing and writing separately rather than as a unified system of meaning making. In this article I highlight one outcome of the fourth phase of an ongoing research project which focuses on writing in the first year of formal schooling. In 2009 I challenged 10 teachers working with children in the first year of school to make drawing central to their writing program, particularly during the first half of the year. I wanted to examine the relationship between children's drawing and learning to write in the first six months of formal schooling in an era where visual literacy and linguistic literacy combine. This required a shift in teachers' priorities. The result of the research is unambiguous: if teachers encourage emergent writers to see drawing and writing as a unified system for making meaning children create texts which are more complex than those they can create with words alone. The findings, if not new, are significant for two reasons. Firstly, in an era where visual literacy is central to new literacies it does not make sense to ignore the research which identifies the important relationship between drawing and emergent writing. Secondly, the findings remind us of the power of building on from the known to the new; meaning making through talking and drawing are the known, and writing as script is the new. The approach discussed also leads children to develop a positive attitude towards themselves as writers.
|Number of pages||19|
|Journal||Australian Journal of Language and Literacy|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 2011|