Art and Reading: A Great Combination for Great Gains

Art and Reading: A Great Combination for Great Gains CATHY COLLIER

Art and Reading can seem to be separate goals, but they aren’t. In fact, combining the two gives your students the biggest bang.

In the pursuit of comprehensive education, the integration of art into literature lessons has emerged as a powerful tool.

This blog post explores the benefits of incorporating art into the curriculum, with a specific focus on using a “Poem of the Week” set each week. Students anticipate the art project and can even predict what the project will be.

Using the Poem of the Week, “My Valentine”, students combine art and reading with hearts and arrows.

Not only does this set provide educators with comprehensive resources, but it also allows students to immerse themselves in a creative process that not only deepens their understanding of literature but also hones their fine motor skills.

Benefits of Art and Reading connection

Art and Reading: A Great Combination for Great Gains CATHY COLLIER

1. Visualization

Art encourages students to bring words to life by visualizing and imagining scenes, emotions, and concepts from the poems they explore.

Creating art related to a text can help students visualize and better understand the content, enhancing their comprehension.

The “My Valentine” Poem of the Week set provides a canvas for students to translate the simple poem into a cute Valentine Man, fostering a connection between the words and the images they create.

2. Critical Thinking

Creating art based on literature requires students to analyze and synthesize information, fostering critical thinking skills, naturally this extends to the realm of reading comprehension. As the students follow the steps to make the art project, they have to plan. They will trace and cut a heart on a folded paper (lessons about symmetry are ae east fit). They will cut and accordion fold two arms and two legs. The back and forth motion of folding in an accordion fashion will take physical coordination and repetition. They will draw a face, requiring fine motor skills.

3. Enhanced Memory

The act of creating art and reading visual representations linked to the “My Valentine” poem reinforces students’ memory and retention of the poetic content. By connecting the written words with their own artistic interpretations, students solidify their understanding of the poems, making it more likely for them to remember key details. They will be able to read the affixed poem to a friend, parent volunteer, teacher or parent and practice for fluency. The act of creating art can serve as a mnemonic device, helping students remember key details from the reading through visual associations.

4. Emotional Connection

Art provides a platform for students to emotionally connect with the poems they read. The “Poem of the Week” My Valentine is cute. Bottom line. Kids like it, even when they say, “ew.” You can even tell them to give the art project to someone they love. You can even add an oral language component by asking them to share who they would share it with.

5. Cross-Curricular Learning

Anytime one lesson can build on multiple skills, the benefits are multiplied. These lessons encourage collaboration between language arts and visual arts teachers, promoting a more integrated and cohesive curriculum. Putting this in an Art Center during Literacy Stations can help students understand the link between art and reading. By adding the poem to the art, students can share not only their art, but their reading.

6. Building Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills play a crucial role in reading and language development, particularly during the early stages of a child’s life.

Fine motor skills involve the coordination of small muscles in the hands and fingers, and they are essential for various tasks related to literacy and communication.

Here are several ways in which fine motor skills contribute to reading and language development:

Art and Reading: A Great Combination for Great Gains CATHY COLLIER


Tracing the half-heart on a folded red paper requires precision and control in hand movements. They also have to engage both hands in the skill, strengthening both. While one hand holds the pattern, the other must trace. This skill directly translates into improved handwriting as students refine their ability to follow intricate patterns and lines.


The art of cutting involves intricate hand-eye coordination, refining students’ spatial awareness and manual dexterity. As they navigate scissors through the templates provided in the set, they hone fine motor skills. The development of the pincer grip (using the thumb and index finger to pick up small objects) is crucial for activities like turning pages, holding a pencil, and manipulating small objects, which are all important in literacy-related tasks.

If you have students who are struggling with cutting because they are moving the scissors with their whole arm around the pattern instead of moving the paper, give them a file folder to put under their armpit of their cutting hand. Tell them they can’t drop the file folder while they are cutting. They will need to keep their cutting arm still and you can show them how to move the paper, not the scissors.


The act of applying glue demands controlled squeezing and spreading, refining the muscles in the hands and fingers. This fine motor skill contributes not only to artistic endeavors but also sets the stage for efficient use of writing tools.

Art and Reading: A Great Combination for Great Gains CATHY COLLIER


Sorting and organizing materials for the art project fosters cognitive and fine motor skills.

This skill is a precursor to future tasks requiring categorization and systematic planning, providing a strong foundation for academic and professional pursuits.

Visual Planning

Creating an art project involves envisioning the final outcome and planning the steps to achieve it.

This visual planning skill is instrumental in tasks such as note-taking, outlining, and project management, all of which are vital for academic success.

Hand-Eye Coordination

Fine motor skills involve the coordination between hand and eye movements. This coordination is essential for tracking lines of text and focusing on specific words or letters while reading. The development of fine motor skills is intertwined with various aspects of reading and language development.

Activities that enhance fine motor skills not only contribute to physical dexterity but also support cognitive processes essential for literacy and effective communication. Parents and educators can incorporate a variety of fine motor activities into a child’s routine to promote holistic development.

The interaction between art, literature, and fine motor development is a potent combination that propels solid learning.

As educators guide students through the “My Valentine” Poem of the Week set, they are not only nurturing an appreciation for language and creativity but also laying the groundwork for the development of essential fine motor skills.

This approach not only enriches reading comprehension but also equips students with a versatile skill set that transcends the realms of art and literature, setting the stage for success in future academic and professional endeavors.

art and reading: everything you need

The “My Valentine” Poem of the Week set simply integrates both fine motor activities and art into the reading process.

It’s also a cute and seasonal decoration for your classroom or their home.

I believe in Poem of the Week as a cross-curricular tool.

The Poem of the Week for My Valentine contains 14 separate activities, including the art project.

Art and Reading: A Great Combination for Great Gains CATHY COLLIER

This includes:

  • Poem Anchor Charts (full-color and B&W)
  • Sight Word Introduction Slides and Directions
  • Differentiated Cloze Poems (3 Levels)
  • Line Order Building Practice (2 Levels)
  • Art Connection
  • Pocket Chart Cards
  • 1-page Booklets (3 Levels)
  • Small Group Mats (1-to1 Match and Sentence Segmentation Practice)
  • Read, Write, Glue, Draw Center
  • Sight Word Practice Sheet (Writing and Mapping Practice)
  • Lift-the-Flap Rime Center
  • Comprehension Puzzle (Character, Setting, and Event)
  • Sight Word Home Practice Sheet (Student Choice Board)
  • Poem Comprehension Home Practice Sheet (Student Choice Board)

In previous blog posts, I have expounded on the value on more than one occasion. 

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