Drawing letters and writing symbols
I just got a couple of back issues of Innovations in the mail (well, see, I thought I had re-upped my NAREA membership at the NAEYC conference, but apparently something happened with that).
|'wonder' by Nolan|
I am very excited by these articles because I've been asking myself questions about how drawing relates to the development of writing quite a bit lately. I think all of the drawings of bird song that happened this year really made me wonder about the relationship between drawing, sound and meaning.Of course, I knew that there was a field called semiotics, about the way words and letters and other symbols are used, and have been wanting to learn more about it. I love the idea that a word, a symbol, a motion or gesture or other signifyer of meaning could be considered a sign. This idea that all of these are equal communicators of meaning really speaks to me as a person who is so tied to helping children make their ideas visible. Sadly, everything I've tried to read about semantics is very hard to understand.
|Hummingbird Sound by Poppy|
These articles in Innovations are about how children sometimes use letters and words to communicate more than just sounds, embellishing them or inventing their own symbols in order to communicate a sort of poetic meaning behind the word. So when a child thinks about the word "Sea" and all of it's connotations, he might feel it important to write it with lines that look like crashing waves, or use shimmering colors to evoke a calm sea and sunshine.
Observing children's experiments with writing is one side of these questions, but there is another piece that comes more from the drawing side. I'm wondering how children's drawing and early creation of symbols leads to and influences writing, both before and after formal instruction begins.
The authors write about valuing the shapes of letters, looking at them from an aesthetic point of view, rather than a phonetic one. This point of view seems especially appropriate for young children who are between that stage of made up scribble letters and formal writing instruction.