Reading the Art


ELA and Art

  • 30-45 Minutes



Step 1: Students visually study Robinson Crusoe Illustration No. 13 by NC Wyeth using this Puzzle, Think, Explore technique. Create a categorized list of student responses.

Step 2: Ask students to now look at the colors, light and dark shading, and textures of the print and summarize this scene from the point of view of the Captain. Then, have them do the same thing from the point of view of Robinson Crusoe.

Step 3: Provide students with an excerpt from Robinson Crusoe for Chapter 27, found here. Ask them to read the selection carefully to find any comparisons between the text description and their previous ideas of the scene based on the illustration.

Step 4: Compare the textual nuances of phrasing, word choice, and voice to the use of shading, textures and color used in the illustration. Do they match? How so? How does the illustration capture the feeling of the text? Provide an opportunity for students to compare and contrast in small groups these (and other) questions of inquiry.

Step 5: Groups can present their findings to the whole class and engage in a discussion on the similarities and differences between the text and the illustration in capturing the scene.

Step 6: Have students reflect on how reading printed text and reading a visual art print are the same and different and what decoding techniques you need to use for each source.



Robinson Crusoe is told from the point of view of Robinson himself.

Have students re-write the selection they read from the point of view of the captain and then sketch an illustration that utilizes texture, color and shading to support and convey the captain’s point of view of this moment.