Art class is not just about art. Art and its foundational skill—drawing—is about reading and writing visually. When children learn to draw, they learn to see, evaluate and discern—visually. Many other subjects are affected by a child’s visual discernment and reading skills, such as math and reading.
This is a story from an elementary classroom—an excerpt from my book, Being Visual:
Art is Reading
Last year, there were several students consistently being pulled out of my art classroom. These kids were struggling with reading and needed some additional assistance. They spent the first half of art class in another room with reading specialists, rejoining us at the end of the lesson, which was media focused. I knew there was a benefit to them being in art class so I questioned the arrangement. Art and reading are both visual skills. Reading is about deciphering visual symbols. Art is about developing visual skills and learning to see and create symbols. I discussed the matter with the reading specialists and they gained a better understanding of the value of art class, especially in relation to the development of reading skills. The children have been in full attendance ever since.
5th grade art teacher, Schaumburg, Illinois