Friday, July 13, 2007

Reading is related to drawing

Kids reading illustrated books have an irresistible urge to draw the illustrations themselves, if they have paper and pencil, and especially if they have crayons and markers. Guess what? Almost no kids in African villages have crayons and markers, let alone a clean sheet of paper. In a world where used newspaper and cement bags are recycled as wrapping for street food, it is almost too frivolous to buy a clean sheet of paper just for a child to scribble on. Or is it? Perhaps early exposure to scribbling, drawing, coloring, tracing... helps you succeed in school so you won't have to earn your living selling roadside food wrapped in a piece of old cement bag... We'd like to run some programs, if we had funding, to see whether there are some significant longer-term impacts. The academic literature seems sparse on this question.

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