Anne Ryan

Lit Festivals offer learning opportunities in Language and Visual Literacy

Learning opportunities shared during author/illustrators visits to the classroom are unique and memorable experiences for all learning abilities.

On Tuesday this week I was fortunate to be invited to the wonderful Literature Festival at Tucker Road Primary School in Bentleigh, organised by the dedicated librarian Robyn Donoghue and hosted by Ford Street Publishing. Paul Collins director of Creative Net Speakers Agency provides a wonderful program aimed at extending students experiences of language, storytelling and literature. Students shared diverse opportunities by engaging and responding with local authors and illustrators through story, literature and Art.

In my workshops I was fortunate to make connections to their learning in the Language Curriculum by ‘Expressing and developing ideas’ through visual literacy.
(ACELA 1786) Explore the different contribution of words and images to meaning in stories
(ACELA 1453) Compare different kinds of images in narrative and informative texts and
discuss how they contribute to meaning

We explored the imagery in my illustrated picture book, Salih (written by Inda Ahmed Zahri) and discussed the positive symbols of hope throughout the book.

Picture books are such a valuable resource for extending children’s visual literacy in primary years.  Students are very quick to know what they see and make connections to the visual imagery in illustrated texts. However, they often need guidance and support to develop their skills in expressing their observations and understandings when responding to visual language with words. We are constantly translating and decoding the meanings of the visual world around us and we all interpret imagery differently according to our experience and attention.

Sharing examples from my sketchbook and the drawing development process, I demonstrated the importance of brainstorming visual imagery through rough doodling exercises. This process opens student’s ability to play and recognize creative thinking and is a key skill for developing storytelling in picture books.

The year 5/6 students were so confident with their ability to brainstorm in rough thumbnail sketches. They explored size and proportion and detail variations to make their thinking visible. This process is an excellent way to learn about how we can communicate during creative tasks with visual imagery. In the same way we encourage the technique of first drafts in the writing process, this is a great technique for developing visual skills in storytelling with our young learners.

As part of their preparation for this event, each student completed a research project for homework about their selected Author/ Illustrator.

It was such a delight to see the pride, effort and commitment that every student had applied to their work. They demonstrated excellent prior knowledge of many of the creators works and special interests.

This immersive program was a truly authentic learning experience allowing young learners to make personal connections to local artists, authors and illustrators. Thank you to these enthusiastic and talented students for bringing their best selves to this rewarding learning program.

My only request was the directions to the uniform shop as I was very keen to slip on a uniform and join in the fun learning across all the wonderful workshops available.

Thank you for inviting me to your special day.

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