Using Lynda Barry’s Syllabus as inspiration, there is a lot that can be done when combining drawing, digital humanities, and literature.

Here’s a fresh and creative way to approach close reading:

  1. Read the passage (a couple pages, a paragraph, a sentence) and ask students to draw a spiral on their paper while they listen to the excerpt being read aloud. Barry argues that the spiral is “an exercise in both relaxation and concentration” (76).
  2. Ask students to draw: the entire scene, a certain character, the setting, anything. Do not give them any specific instruction other than to listen, to draw, and to “spend time on the assignment” as Lynda Barry concludes produces the most successful results (89). Give students between 5 and 10 minutes to complete the drawing.
  3. After the time is up, examine the drawings to see what the students picked out from the passage. What from the reading was important to them? How did they translate text to image? Did any patterns arise from the drawings of the entire class?


Works Cited:

Barry, Lynda. Syllabus: Notes From an Accidental Professor. Canada: Drawn and Quarterly, 2014. Print.