The Child's Way into Literacy: A New Look at Scribbling and Drawing

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Two books provide a new way to look at parenting and education in early childhood. "Saving Literacy" is designed for teachers, and "HandMade Marks" is designed for parents, including homeschooling parents. Both books combine developmental benchmarks, evaluation tools, hands-on exercises, and research questions, while also addressing the issues of television, computer-use, and childhood autism. A brain-based theory and practice place children's spontaneous marks at the heart of language learning and healthy mental/emotional development.

"Dr. Sheridan recognizes that children can be encouraged to use scribbles as the initial step toward capturing meaning...perhaps preventing learning disabilities in later years." James M. Royer, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, UMASS, Amherst, MA.

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Two books provide a new way to look at parenting and education in early childhood. "Saving Literacy" is designed for teachers, and "HandMade Marks" is designed for parents, including homeschooling parents. Both books combine developmental benchmarks, evaluation tools, hands-on exercises, and research questions, while also addressing the issues of television, computer-use, and childhood autism. A brain-based theory and practice place children's spontaneous marks at the heart of language learning and healthy mental/emotional development.

Dr. Susan Rich Sheridan has devoted twenty-five years to teaching and researching a method called Drawing/Writing, working with students, teachers and administrators from the pre-school through the college levels. By taking mark-making back to its earliest beginnings in scribbling, Dr. Sheridan proposes a Scribbling/Talking/Drawing/Writing program for parents. Key to the success of this program is re-establishing one-one-one relationships between parents and children around marks and words, without the interference of the television or the computer.

By bringing language learning in its broadest sense "back home", Dr. Sheridan believes that many early childhood delays and deficits can be prevented or reversed, including hyperactivity, attention deficits, emotional deficits, delayed speech, and learning disabilities connected with reading and writing. Her teaching and research support the positive effect of strongly mentored (or parented!) scribbling and drawing on the mental/emotional unfolding of the child as a language-learner. Because of increasing numbers of children with emotional, attentional, and language-based issues, including autism, Dr. Sheridan believes that a change in parenting and early education is necessary, away from the pervasive use of electronic technology with and around young children, back toward face-to-face relationships organized around the child's spontaneous and important behavior, which we call scribbling and drawing.

Pictures and words get into children’s brains through their eyes and hands. Dr. Sheridan also proposes that the basic shapes and patterns on which all pictures and words depend are already embedded in the neural architecture of the child's brain. Scribbling and drawing both access and organize these special brain patterns for the exciting and important human enterprise we call literacy!

Go to Dr. Sheridan's web site to read her papers, access free lesson plans, and link with her books about marks and meaning and the development of the human mind.

http://www.marksandmind.org

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