Big Kids like Arts and Crafts, too.

A few weeks into the semester of a class on reading development and instruction, our professor assigned groups to read a dense article about different theoretical models of reading development. Talk about irony–I was reading about how readers make mistakes and slow down when text is complex and understanding breaks down.

As I was reading this, I was also experiencing it! I walked into class thinking, “Am I the only one who struggled reading this beast of an article?!” And, I had to laugh at myself for experiencing the very thing I was reading about as I was reading about it!

Luckily, I was not alone. And luckily, the professor did this quite purposefully. We spent the class discussing these jam-packed, dense readings in our groups, ultimately making visual representations of the articles to share with our class.

Such a teachable moment and an argument for group dialogue and art in classrooms! Making the visual forced us have a really clear grasp of the theoretical model we had read, and the opportunity for time to talk through it led us to this common understanding.

So while the professor scaffolded her own instruction to ensure our understanding, she doubly demonstrated to us how impactful this is for our own students. Turns out big kids need art too.

Visual model of “The Psycholinguistic Guessing Game” (Goodman, 1979).


Joshua Jenkins is an Master’s of Education candidate in the Language and Literacy strand, pursuing licensure as a reading specialist. Josh was a special educator and reading interventionist in New Orleans and is interested in the research on reading disabilities and what all grown-ups can do to help bolster reading development for all children.