Connecting Art & Literacy In 8th Grade

At Bosque School, we recognize that art and literacy go hand in hand. Literacy is more than the ability to read and write—it is the capacity to express oneself, make connections, and interpret the world in a multitude of ways.

The connection between art and literacy is evident in Alaura Nellos’ 8th-grade art class. Over the last few weeks, students have been working on creating books for their elementary school-aged reading buddies as part of their year-long service learning project. 

Once a month, the 8th-grade class travels to Armijo Elementary to read, bond, and laugh with their reading buddies. This has been a long-standing program at Bosque School, and the benefits are abundant. Armijo Elementary is a Title I school that offers a dual-language program for students who are still developing their English language skills. The partnership allows Bosque School students the chance to practice their Spanish skills, while the Armijo students benefit from a personalized English-speaking buddy.

This month’s trip to Armijo Elementary will be extra memorable because Bosque School students will share books with their buddies that they created themselves in art class—curated specifically for each of their buddies.

Carson ‘27 explained, “We’re making these books—going from A to Z—showing specific things. You could choose food, desserts…Since I know my buddy likes animals, I included animals…I think they’ll like it a lot.”

“I started the book before I met my buddy, so I didn’t know what sort of child they were going to be,” said Amelie ‘27.  “I made one that could work for anybody. Then I met her, and added some special things.”

Ms. Nellos incorporated this project into her class because she saw the value that it added for both her own students and the reading buddies, and knows from her own firsthand experience. “As a young person in 5th grade, we had reading buddies. I was paired with my little brother’s classroom, and I loved it. As a teacher, I’ve tried to find places for this to happen.”

“Learning to read is a gift,” said Ms. Nellos. “Reading with someone is a gift. The book that their older buddy reads to them—the whole experience is a gift.” She added, “I always look for ways for our students to have art be something that you engage in with community members. This is a really authentic way to do that.”