Literacy experience plan: Drawing as writing

Supporting and extending children’s drawing skills is an important way to support their early literacy and written expression.

This drawing experience can be adapted and applied to a range of fine arts based experiences.

This experience should be differentiated depending on the individual child/group level.

This learning experience plan relates to:

  • emergent literacy
  • early language user (18-36 months)
  • learning foci: exploring and creating texts and fine motor skills
  • teaching practice: fine arts.

Collect information

What information have you gathered as evidence to inform this experience?

Links to VEYLDF

Outcome 4: learning

Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity.

  • Follow and extend their own interests with enthusiasm, energy and concentration.

Outcome 5: communication

Children express ideas and make meaning using a range of media.

  • Use the creative arts, such as drawing, painting, sculpture, drama, dance, movement, music and story-telling, to express ideas and make meaning.

Learning intentions

  • For children to draw and write to express ideas and convey meaning.
  • For children to develop strength and coordination in the hands and fingers (that is, fine motor development).

Assessment of learning

Learning is demonstrated when children:

  • express ideas through their drawings, for example, “This is me and Mummy”.
  • manipulate markers with adequate strength and control to make marks, scribble and drawings.


  • chunky coloured markers – e.g. pencils, crayons, textas
  • large sheets of paper or cardboard.

Group size

Individual children or small group (two - five children).


Differentiation should be based on prior assessment of the child/children’s communication skills. Examples of differentiation:

  • for a child who is having difficulty grasping the marker, the educator should provide physical assistance (i.e. hand on hand) to hold the crayon to make marks on the page. Depending on the interests of the child, educators may extend their participation by singing a song or jingle about what they are doing.
  • for a child who is drawing more complex representational drawings and explaining these independently, the educator may encourage this child to use early letter-like formations, letters and/or symbols alongside their drawings to enhance meaning.

Experience process

  1. As stated above, this experience can be applied to any context where the child/children are focussing on drawing. The educator joins the drawing experience and implements some of the intentional teaching strategies listed below.
    • If appropriate, have a discussion with the child about their ideas/plans prior to drawing. 
    • Encourage children to add complexity and detail to their drawing through discussion about the various features.
    • Ask open-ended questions to extend thinking and drawing.
    • For children who are not creating representational drawings, talk with them about what they are doing, what it looks like, and what they can see. This may lead into the creation of something specific.
    • Annotate children’s work, writing descriptions of their work, exactly as children describe them.
    • Talk about what children are doing and incorporate advanced language where appropriate. E.g. “Leila is carefully drawing the fierce tiger’s teeth”.
    • Be mindful of leaving pauses in the discussion so that children have time and space to create their drawings.
    • Where appropriate, encourage children to experiment with elements of print, e.g. Child: “that looks like a C”, Educator: “it does, we could try to draw a ‘C’ here”
  2. To consolidate and assess understanding, the educator could summarise what the child has drawn, elaborating on their ideas. Encouraging the child to tell peers about their drawing will further consolidate the learning.

Going Further

This experience can be repeated with a specific focus, for example, if the children have gone on a nature walk, they may choose to focus their drawings on what they saw whilst out on their walk.


Reflective questions for educators may include:

  • What learning has occurred? How do you know?
  • What have you realised about the child’s interests, knowledge, and capabilities?
  • In discussion with colleagues, what would you plan next to consolidate or extend children’s learning?

Additional/alternate resources for this learning experience

  • chalk and chalkboards
  • paints
  • charcoal
  • playdough for sculpting .

Related learning experience plans

Links to sections