Academic journal article Language Arts

Picture This: A Simple Paradigm Shift

Academic journal article Language Arts

Picture This: A Simple Paradigm Shift

Article excerpt

The wealth of quality picturebooks available today reminds us of the natural marriage between text and image. Sometimes the illustrations convey mean- ing beyond the written text; sometimes the text conveys meaning beyond the illustrations; almost always the combination of text and image together moves readers beyond what each alone can convey. This powerful partnership is often overlooked in the classroom as schools focus on raising test scores.

In today's test-driven world, it is easy to lose touch with the power of pictures as a key driver of meaning making. Our verbally biased educational system has caused us to forget a truth we all learned around the age of 2 or 3: that pictures speak vol- umes and that we can read pictures and "write pic- tures" in satisfying and meaningful ways that run parallel to the way we read and write words.

Our narrow view of literacy may actually harm those students who struggle with words. Alternatively, a picture-based approach to literacy learning (creat- ing pictures, reading pictures, writing to pictures) can open doors to a lively engagement with both visual and written text (Frankel, 2011; Olshansky, 2008).

With a simple paradigm shift, we can reclaim our birthright as makers of meaning in pic- tures and words. I am committed to advancing Artists/Writers Workshop (www.picturingwriting . …

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