Reading the Masters
Reading the Masters: An Arts Integrated Curriculum
Kindergarten – 9th Grade
Philosophy: Reading the Masters is an innovative art integrated curriculum that teaches students reading skills and reading methods using masterpiece works of art. Reading the Masters helps students of all ages to clearly understand the skills and strategies required for good readers to be successful. Students will explore and carefully analyze a masterpiece while identifying elements and principles of art. This close examination of each piece lends itself to recognize that the same process it takes to discover the main idea and supporting details in a work of art is the same process it takes to discover these important reading skills in a written text. This reality is the same for other reading skills and strategies.
Reading the Masters was written as a result of intense quantitative research on the communication, social, and behavioral skills of elementary and middle school students with autism and related disabilities using an arts integrated curriculum. Communication skills had a positive effect while social and behavioral skills had mixed results. Preliminary results of using Reading the Masters with students of all learning profiles and multiple intelligences is showing academic success in reading and language arts.
Students will discover the same thinking processes needed to apply reading skills to visual art will help them gain a deeper understanding with written text. When using visual art as text, teachers can help students make deeper connections to the key reading skills being taught within the classroom. Utilizing arts integration when examining different types of text results in a higher level of critical thinkining and text analysis. This process of using visual art as text makes natural connections to close reading and common core state standards.
In Reading the Masters students will dance like the ballerinas in Edgar Degas' painting, paint the ceiling like Michelangelo, determine the parts of a flower like Georgia O'Keeffe, sequence the stages in the life cycle of plants with Vincent van Gogh, invent their own creation like Leonardo da Vinci, write their own mysteries like Chris VanAllsburg in "The Mysteries of Harris Burdick".