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Picture Alphabet

School: The College School

City/State: St. Louis, MO

Grade(s): K

Format(s): Children's book: Alphabet

Subject(s): Visual Arts

Project Overview

Kindergarten students from The College School in St. Louis, Missouri, created this series of pictures and words to represent each letter of the alphabet. Originally displayed over the blackboard as a pictorial ABC series, these images served as information to young students about letters and their order in the alphabet. 

For this project, students were taught how to use professional quality, soft-lead colored pencils. The quality of the materials – not often trusted to students of this age – made a great difference in the clarity of line and richness of color distinctive in these portraits.

This simple, yet very appealing idea is a way to feature student work in a classroom – one that serves a real purpose. Almost every kindergarten classroom in the United States has the alphabet displayed in a similar way, but nearly all are commercially bought. 

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • Highlights a simple product – one that is not a major undertaking
  • The quality of images are wonderful, capturing the interests and ideas of young children
  • Students did multiple drafts of their work, and accordingly, this work is better than what one might often see from young students
  • Drawings show sophisticated form, close attention to detail and also feature the charming expression of young children
  • The drawings are charming and do not look copied or traced
  • Although some of the choices are fairly typical (“A is for Apple”), several entries are quite unusual and sophisticated. Notice “E is for Echo” – the student chose a concept quite challenging to draw and yet has aptly captured it
  • Each picture is unique, capturing a lovely array of work, and individual expressive style, from this group of students
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