Visiting a gallery: Reading about paintings
A visit to the National Portrait Gallery in London.
A Transport for London literacy class visit the National Portrait Gallery in London.
My name's Kim Brown and I work for Transport for London teaching English for dyslexic staff.
We've come to the National Portrait Gallery to have a look at different paintings just to try and consolidate some of the learning that people do in the classroom.
[Speaking to Nzinga at the gallery] You gonna read this one to us, Nzinga?
[Reading from the portrait description] Yeah. "Sir Richard Francis Burdett became a national celebrity as Bt's…"
When you come to places like this, you can visually see it and you’ll find that you might be able to learn other things other than what you’ve just read in class.
[Reading from a painting description] "Led by Thomas Clarkson formed the Society for the Abolition of Slavery Trade."
So, there you go.
[Pointing at a painting] Now, that man's got some nice shoes on. [Laughter] That is some shoes, man.
You can put special paint on anything. It don’t mean nothing to you if you just look at it. But if you can read what the caption says on it, saying, "This is depicting this", you understand it a bit more clearly.
[Reading from a painting description] "The Reformed House of Commons 1833."
It's good that you're in a different environment, not a classroom environment, so it's good that you can come out to a building like this and actually read the writing that has gone on the portrait. You have the confidence to be able to read about what the portrait's about.
[Talking about a portrait] "The eventual emancipation…" Do you know what that means? To emancipate someone?
It develops your reading skills in the sense that it kind of opens your vocabulary in terms of things that you're reading.
It's important to bring reading into the real world. Just making reading a normal part of life, and it's not, doesn't need to be a sense of intimidation about it.
Quick tips for tutors
- Short film about a Transport for London literacy class visit to the National Portrait Gallery in London.
- The attendees discuss how being able to read about what the painting are about deepens their understanding of the piantings they are viewing.
- Their tutor Kim discusses the importance of bringing reading into the real world.
- May be used to introduce the topic in class and stimulate discussion around the featured story.