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Top Tip Tuesday- art is the first language of a beginning reader and writer

Updated: Aug 11, 2023

Art is the “first language” of the beginning reader and writer. Children usually draw or paint before they write. They use what might seem like just scribbles, lines and blobs to represent things. But isn’t that what writing is all about? Both art and writing are a process of symbol making and can be a means of communication. Children’s pictures are words to them and represent an essential step on the road to literacy.

Offering children lots of different opportunities to mark make and using a variety of mediums and sensory experiences supports the importance of art as a tool for self-expression, language and writing. Try these suggestions outdoors to broaden your child's experiences.


What you need ...

  • paper

  • wax crayons

What to do ...

  • find any rough surfaces in and around your home with your child

  • touch the surface and talk about how it feels (e.g. soft, smooth, hard, rough)

  • let your child place the paper flat on the surface and rub their crayon over it

  • compare different rubbings

Pavement art

What you need ...

  • a container of water e.g. bucket, washing up bowl

  • brushes

  • items to print with e.g. potatoes, cups, feet, hands

What to do ...

  • on a warm, sunny day, let you child 'paint' or print with water on the pavement or on a fence

  • talk about the sun drying the pictures up

  • let them start all over again

Chalks are also effective for pavement art
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