Reading Responses with Art

When a child reads a book whether it is fiction or nonfiction, they should respond to what they have read in some way.  A fun way to respond to is through art.  Children will look forward to the pleasure of completing a fun project after they have finished a book or story.

Painting the Setting

Have your child describe the setting of the book. (Remember setting tells where and when the story takes place.)  Once you know that they are sure of the details of the setting, let them paint a picture that shows what they setting looks like in their mind.  Don’t force them to make their art follow exactly what they book says.  Reading should involve using their imagination so things may look slightly different in each child’s mind as they read.

Character Crafts

Art is a great way to emphasize understanding the story characters. You can do that by making puppets of the main characters in the story. While making puppets sounds like a difficult task, there are some simple ways to do it.

  • Paper dolls – Family has a printable template for both the paper dolls and their clothes.  Simply print the templates out and then let your child color and cut out the dolls and clothes. (I would suggest using a heavier paper such as cardstock so the dolls will stand up better.)
  • Popsicle stick puppets – For an even simpler craft, have your child draw the characters on paper themselves.  Once they have colored and cut them out, glue them onto popsicle sticks. (A hot glue gun will work best for this, but Elmer’s glue will work as well.)

Once your child has made their character puppets, they will have fun acting out parts of the story with you.

Shoebox Diorama

This art project combines details from both the setting and the characters of the story.  Remove the lid from a shoebox and stand it on its side.  Have your child decorate the inside of the box to look like the setting of the story.  They can use paints, crayons, paper, and other materials to cover the inside.  Once the inside is completed, have them make models of the characters, building, and plants to go inside the diorama. has a great tutorial on how to make a diorama.

A reading response shows that they have understood what they have read and gives the child a better chance to relate to the reading.  There are many ways besides art to respond to reading.  In the next post in the series, we will  talk about using discussion to respond to reading.

How to you use art to follow up on what your child is reading?

Elementary Reading Curriculum at Smart Tutor

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