How Ms. Crowder learned to love Reading

Welcome, friends! I am your art teacher: Ms. Crowder. When I was little everyone in my family loved to read and I just wanted to draw all day long. I hated to read! I thought to myself…”if I am an art teacher, I will never have to read again, and won’t that be amazing!”. Well, I will let you in on a little secret…art teachers do have to read! In order to complete Grad School at VCU, I had to read hundreds of pages a week, and I had to write 100 pages to graduate with my masters in Art Education.

Sorry 8 year old self who hated reading, but I do have some good news for you little artistic friends who don’t love reading yet. You can learn to love to read if you are patient with yourself and take the artistic route. The clever adults in my life taught me to read by showing me books with lots of beautiful illustrations. I will list here some of my favorite illustrated books for kids who prefer drawing to reading.

  1. winnie-the-pooh Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne…I loved the way that pooh was so loving towards his friends, and never got upset by difficult situations, and I loved the original drawings…not the Disney version, but the original drawings. These drawings really looked to me like my stuffed animals come to life. This book is a chapter book, so it is really long, but the words are simple and funny, and you will finish it before you know it.
  2. olga3 Olga Da Polga by Michael Bond…I thought this book was wonderfully funny when I was young, and this was the first book that ever made me realize that I might actually like reading.
  3. 7765546Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola…I loved the way Tomie did such simple drawings, and used limited colors, and yet I really wanted to eat the magic noodles as they spilled out of pot.
  4. The Mice Sewing the Mayor's Coat circa 1902 by Helen Beatrix Potter 1866-1943Anything by Beatrix Potter: I loved the way she studied little animals and made them look so realistic, but doing tiny little human things. I liked the idea that cats made little dumplings and that rabbits wore clothes.

    This image is: The Mice Sewing the Mayor’s Coat circa 1902 Helen Beatrix Potter 1866-1943 Presented by Capt. K.W.G. Duke RN 1946


    ferdi005-copyThe Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf…I loved the way he draw corks growing on the cork trees, and how much detail he got just using black ink. That really appealed to my young artistic sensibilities.

Now that I teach art to children, I use a lot of illustrated books in my lessons. Illustrations and illustrators are the reason I came to love reading. I wish I had read these books when I was little because the images in them are so inspiring, so lovely. Some of my favorite children’s book illustrators now are:

  1. The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco
  2. The Talking Eggs illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
  3. Its hard to be 5 by Jamie Lee Curtis

So good luck my little friends who don’t love reading yet, I know it will come, and I know some really cool illustrators who can help you get there!