I was recently reading a really interesting article by Turk et Al (2015) which found that children were more likely to recall target vocabulary if it was used in sentences where they themselves were the subject of the sentence.
The same day I had been doing lots of work with my class on improving their drawings of themselves. I had been modelling the step by step process I would take to draw a person and discussing with them all the elements that one might think about when trying to represent somebody in an illustration and then, following on from that, how you might illustrate what they are doing in the picture.
I am now putting together a project drawing on these two ideas to see whether co-authoring and the experience of being the subject of both text and illustration can make target words more memorable for children. I am currently an illustration student and I will be engaged in this project as an illustrator as well as the class teacher (the children will not be aware that some of them are being illustrated by me!).
The model is as follows:
- Identify target group of words for each child – these will be high-frequency words rather than words that can be ‘sounded out’.
- Children create sentences about themselves using these words.
- Aspiring children’s illustrators will be recruited to work (virtually) with kids in the class – they draw one illustration for each child’s sentence per week. Child is created as a central character so each sentence becomes part of a story about themselves. Aspiring illustrators gain experience in the creation of a character and placing that character in different situations each week.
- Illustrations come back to the children via email or online sharing.
- Over the 4 – 6 weeks of the project the children will compile a special book containing an illustrated story about themselves.
The aims of the project are as follows:
- Children develop a strong relationship with the target words and recall them accurately.
- Children get a taste of the collaboration of author and illustrator.
- Illustrators model good quality drawing and illustration for the children.
- Children gain a better understanding of the work of both an author and an illustrator.
- Childrens ideas are valued and celebrated.
- All children see themselves in the role of an author – they have written a book!
- Children themselves are at the centre of the story – they are important and interesting.
If you would like to take part in this project as an aspiring (or even established) illustrator then please email me and I will be in touch as soon as possible.