I am a big fan of quality children's literature. The abundance of well written and beautifully illustrated books is a great blessing. Beyond just the chance for exposure to good writing, the past few months have shown what a remarkable tool they can be for teaching children to draw. My children love to draw and color anyway, but I can imagine this can be helpful for reluctant artists as well.
How do we do it?
Simple. We read a book together and then, very often, the girls will draw an illustration from the book. At first it bothered me that they often chose to copy an entire illustration from a book. But the past few months have shown me the benefits. Given the variety of styles and mediums used, the girls have practiced drawing in several different styles and motifs. They have experimented with color and design. Since most of our picture books have focused on our world studies, they have had broad exposure to cultural differences and styles.
Here is some samples of their work.
Here are some books that might be helpful.