Read Me a Picture

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by Mary Erickson, Ph.D.
and Arizona art teacher Jamie Watts, Ph.D.

Read Me a Picture is a three-lesson mini unit plan designed in conjunction with the exhibition of the same name that highlights nine Arizona children’s book illustrators at the Gallery at the Tempe Center for the Arts.

Read Me a Picture Exhibition Preview PowerPoint


  • Theme in Life: Our world is filled with words and pictures that give us information.
  • Theme in Art: Artists use words and pictures to tell stories and share ideas.

Key Questions


What subject matter and symbols do you see?


How do some artists show things in realistic detail and other artists simplify them?

Community Connections
All around us, on TV, on the Internet and on the streets of our communities, we are confronted with verbal and pictorial messages. Artists, designers and advertisers use words and pictures to capture attention, entertain and sell products, services and ideas.


Pre-visit classroom activity: Reading Words and Pictures
TCA Activity: Exploring How Pictures Tell Stories at the Tempe Center for the Arts
Post-Visit Classroom Activity: Making My Own Book

Read Me a Picture Exhibition Preview PowerPoint
Reading Words and Pictures PowerPoint
Exploring Words and Pictures at the Tempe Center for the Arts pdf
Making My Own Book PowerPoint
Questor Questions pdf

Web Resources
Degrees of Abstraction
This presentation uses landscapes from the Minneapolis Institute of Art and Walker Museum to introduce different degrees of abstraction in art. (Click “Present” to begin.)

11-inch x 17-inch paper (or other rectangular paper)
Rubber stamps

Optional items for binding
Rubber bands, ribbon, yarn or string
Bamboo skewers for spine support


Anne Coe
Shonto Begay
Molly Schaar Idle
Ken and Sylvia Marantz
Jamie Watts’ students at Ironwood High School in the Peoria Unified School District.
Trader Joe’s of Tempe

Estimated Time
Previsit Lesson = 30 to 60 minutes
TCA Visit Lesson = Field Trip
Postvisit Lesson = 180 to 300 minutes