Use Reading Strategies To Teach Art

Study art using reading skills.

While some think of art education simply as the creating of attractive pictures, in truth, true art education requires the acquisition of an extensive array of content knowledge. When teaching art, you can use reading strategies to assist your students in learning the information necessary to advance their artistic knowledge and skill. Through the use of these strategies, you help your students become better artists and readers simultaneously.


1. Build a word wall in your classroom. A word wall is a common reading strategy that can be effectively used within the field of art. To build a word wall, cut cardstock into strips, and write each new vocabulary word that you learn through your art study on one of these strips. Tape all of the strips onto the wall in a central location. This practice keeps the words fresh within the minds of your students and increases the likelihood that they will retain the terminology.

2. Use K-W-L charts as a pre-, during- and post- reading activity. To build a K-W-L chart, create a three column chart. Label the first column as “Know,” the second as “Want to know,” and the third as “Learned.” Before reading a passage about art, pass copies of the charts out to students. Ask them to fill in the first two columns, listing things that they know or want to know about the topic that you will be exploring. After reading the passage, ask students to fill in the learned section, listing the information that they learned through the reading.

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3. Show students highlight as they read art content texts. Start by demonstrating highlight only the most important words and phrases. Arm students with highlighters any time you complete a class reading, and encourage them to highlight any important information that they come across.

4. Create outlines of factual art information. By outlining, you can help students organize their understanding. Introduce students to the concept of outlining by creating an outline together on the chalkboard or overhead. Once students are comfortable with the process, ask them to create their own outlines to keep in their notes after each art reading.

5. Check student understanding of art related information through the creation of a summary. At the end of a unit, ask students to write a summary of what they know about the artist, artwork or art period. This summary will allow you to see how fully the student understands the discussed topic, and make it clear whether you need to revisit the concept to enhance their understanding of it.