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Kim Waltmire's picture
Kim Waltmire M.Ed. is a state and national award-winning educator. She holds an honorary seat with the 2006 USA Today All-Star Teacher team. Kim is a graduate from CCSU with a Masters in Early...
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Concerns Facing Literacy & Writing Today

One of the major concerns facing literacy and writing today is the lack of interest or time paid to children of different learning styles. 90% of our students are visual/kinesthetic learners, yet not enough resources or time is placed on this learning style throughout many school districts and unfortunately, some at-risk children or those with needs have fallen into the gray area of education. They might be over-looked, taught with mediocrity, or expected to not succeed. Interestingly, these children go untapped when it comes to their creative potential, which, ironically, is where they will succeed if someone would only give them the chance.

It’s time we emphasize the value of an arts- based approach to literacy & writing, as well as cross-pollinate science and history, but sadly, most school districts don’t want to spend the time/money to hire a consultant or provide adequate professional development, strategies or materials needed. Although visual literacy is expected, not all kids are given the tools to adequately succeed. These children tend to fall through the cracks due to a lack of resources or large classroom settings and more. What amazes me even though, is that 2/3 of education require cross-curricular writing; yet, school districts would prefer classroom teachers to mainstream all learners without adequate writing support, and it’s those with needs who continue to suffer.

I hope to alleviate some of the stress in the classroom and provide support as a beneficial link to visual literacy in a creative, failure-free environment. I want this approach to be a springboard to generate ‘engagement’ in writing, develop critical thinking, and help students communicate their feelings and imaginations. I want these children to feel supported and to become successful in a creative, interactive environment, stand when they need to, bend when they must, and know that it’s okay. I want creative- visual learning to come to life & be celebrated by all children. The Art of Visual Writing fosters all of this!

I have spent my entire career infusing art and literacy throughout the curriculum, and it's my passion. Upon graduating from Central Connecticut State University, I have promoted my lessons and visual strategies to enhance writing in an on-line pdf book titled: The Art of Visual Writing. Throughout the years, I have shared the value of arts-based literacy, along with my artistic, visual strategies and writing techniques with hundreds of teachers. I have been recognized by the International Reading Association as Eastern CT Literacy Teacher of the Year. I have been blessed to have spoken for many professional organizations and conferences, as well as referenced by the CT Writing Project. Fortunately, many of my students of all learning styles have won state and national writing contests, regularly held some of the highest writing and reading scores in school, as well as enhanced their understanding and the value of visual writing for all subjects. I'm thrilled to say that visual writing strategies and visual learning methods work.

Thematic curriculum also allows my students the opportunity to engage, explore, elaborate & express through relevant, creative writing of all genres, as well as incorporating public speaking skills throughout the academic year. They were the ones changing! My students have expressed themselves through their experiences using their senses and inspiration of visual imagery and their academic goals were being achieved! I've incorporated various paintings and sculptures throughout many of my lessons. These unique experiences allowed my children to write for local newspapers too. Over the years, we have won multiple grants providing field trips and resources, enhancing each lesson and project. Furthermore, I used photography & illustrations to inspire my students’ creative expression. They had various opportunities to study Master Artists and Art History as part of my literacy goals and objectives as well; all while aligning with State and National Standards. We held author/ poetry teas, and exhibits for the community, the Children's Medical Center, as well as for local and state officials. Each celebration gave us the venue to create a relevant awareness and value for visual literacy and public speaking, where every child had a choice and a voice.

It's time to step out of our comfort-zone and engage more, explore a lot, elaborate always and express when we need to. If we do this as teachers, imagine what your students will do.

Happy writing everyone!

The Art of Visual Writing

By Kim Waltmire M.Ed.