Teaching Literacy Through Art

Teaching Literacy Through Art

In 2003, Learning Through Art was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to examine the impact of the Guggenheim's pioneering program, Learning Through Art, on third grade students' ability to describe and interpret art, and to apply these skills to understanding written text. The study was conducted in partnership with Randi Korn and Associates from 2003–06.

The primary question that guided this study was: Does looking at and making art teach students how to be better critical thinkers?

The study focused on a sample of over 500 students from four schools in New York City. Two of the schools served as the control group and did not receive LTA programming and two of the schools were the treatment students who received LTA programming.

Professional evaluators conducted observations, case studies of students, rubric-based interviews, and looked at student scores on the New York Citywide ELA test. Primary findings were determined by a rubric-based interview that captured student responses to both works of art and literature excerpts.

The study found that LTA helps students become better learners and thinkers, and findings indicate that those who participated in the program performed better in all six categories of the following literacy and critical-thinking skills:

  • Extended focus
  • Hypothesizing
  • Providing multiple interpretations
  • Schema-building
  • Giving evidence
  • Thorough description

For more details on the study and findings, please reference the TLTA Executive Summary and Final Report. Other resources can be found via the right sidebar of this page.

In June of 2007, former Guggenheim Senior Education Manager Rebecca Shulman Herz spoke about the Teaching Literacy Through Art research findings as a participant in the Smithsonian’s G. Brown Goode Education Lecture Series. Watch the web cast of her presentation, “Fostering Critical Thinking in Schools and Museums.”