I love lazy summer days and trying to have a few before we all head back to school. This is such a simple reading comprehension activity and can be done with kids of any age. There is something awesome about reading outside, I love grabbing a blanket and some books and reading with my kids under a huge blue sky. This art activity takes that simple idea one step further by adding on an artistic retelling activity. I have been working hard to get my son to draw and write more this summer and drawing with his younger sister helps boost his confidence , lets him show her how to do things, and it’s made such a difference. Also his strength in retelling helps balance his lack of confidence in the drawing.
- Gather your materials. You will need a book , some clip boards, a blanket and your art materials. We used paper ,watercolor colored pencils, water , paint brushes, and some water.
- Start by finding the right spot. We found some shade in our yard and spread out the blanket.
- Pass out the clip boards and art material.
- Start reading. As you read encourage your kids to draw what is happening in the story or something that sticks out for them from the book. Their favorite part, the saddest or happiest part … they can or you can choose.
- Make sure to have extra paper on hand my son made 3.
- After they are done with their art work as them about it. Instead of saying ‘ What is that?’ which could make them question their artistic ability as well as gibe a much shorter answer say “Tell me about your picture.” I have found that when we do activities like this both my kids end up retelling the whole story naturally which is an important part of early literacy development. It builds comprehension and because it happens very organically no one feels like they are being quizzed on a lazy summer day. If they don’t retell the story on their own try asking :
- Where did the story take place?
- Who was the story about?
- What happened to them in the story? What happened next?
- How did it end?
Try having your child retell stories from time to time and if they struggle do it more often. If they are really not understanding what is going on try simpler books and try asking these questions throughout the reading not only after finishing the book.
All of these books have story lines that are clear and younger children can successfully retell the major events while older children could use them and retell in greater detail. These links are affiliate links.
- The Three Bears by Byron Barton
- The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
- Freight Train by Donald Crews
- Ordinary Amos and the Amazing Fish by Eugenie and Henry Fernandes
- The Little Red Hen by Lucinda McQueen
- The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
- Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
- Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems
Read and Draw — I love it!
Allison McDonald says
Thanks! The kids loved the combination of art, outside time , and reading.
Little Misters Mum says
Thanks for sharing!
Love this idea for getting some quiet outdoor time on those hot summer days!
We are winter here at the moment (Australia), but come mid summer we’ll have a new baby (January) and this sounds like the perfect activity for all of us 🙂
Oh, I love the whole concept (and The Tiny Seed).
Thanks for planting the seed of an idea!
Great hints and tips here, particularly at number 6. I’m often guilty of trying to guess what my son has drawn, and if my guess is way off then he looks so deflated and discouraged. “Tell me about your picture” is really open-ended too, which should help start a decent discussion.