Wednesday, October 20, 2010

ABC learning with Alison Lester – and so much more

I attended a workshop with Alison Lester a week or so ago. Alison is a well-known Australian author and illustrator, and very generously shared her experience and knowledge of writing and illustrating children’s picture books. Inspiring is an understatement! She talked us through her various books and explained the ideas behind them, as well as the art techniques. We also saw many examples of the books she makes with children from remote indigenous communities – I’m really looking forward to exploring some of these ideas with my kids. Alison taught us to plan a storyboard and even let us loose with paints, crayons, stencils and watercolour paper!

While our family has many favourite books by Alison, I’ll write about just one today – ‘Alison Lester’s ABC’. This is perfect for Annalise at the moment – at four, she is beginning to recognise letters. Alison’s alphabet book has plenty of detail to keep her interested in the pictures, which of course, are all linked to a particular letter. Even though it is an alphabet book, the story behind it of Alice and Aldo’s day is a lovely thread holding everything together. It's also a fabulous opportunity to introduce the concept of alliteration! It's as simple as this - look, I can see lots of words together that start with the letter G!

Inspired by Jennifer’s post at the write start, Tom and Annalise painted these wooden letters I found at a craft shop. Not surprisingly, it was all about family for Annalise. She painted a letter K blue for me – “because your name starts with a K and blue is your favourite colour!” She also found a J for baby Joe – I didn’t know she could even recognise the letter J.

Such baby steps towards reading and writing, but so very important. Inspiration can start from anywhere ...

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