Educators and Institutions
Research Summary & FAQ

Dear Educators,

DrawnToDiscover.com is a solution for improving students’ reading and writing achievement.

As you know, research clearly demonstrates the link between handwriting and academic achievement – even in this increasingly digital age. Yet, despite the clear research results, a decreasing number of students have the requisite handwriting skills for academic achievement – a problem I’m sure you see as well.

DrawnToDiscover.com tackles this problem in a fun and engaging way for both students and teachers. Our research-based, visual literacy curriculum teaches these requisite skills through interactive, video lessons aligned with the NGSS & Common Core.

  1. Students develop a proper pencil grip and fine-motor control.
  2. Students draw and write about the world through a STEAM approach.

The DrawnToDiscover.com curriculum has been implemented with major success in schools in Michigan and the midwest for over 15 years! Now, with Drawn to the Core, these lessons are easily accessible to you and your students.

School districts across the country such as Poway Unified in San Diego are witnessing:

  • Improved handwriting skills (legibility & fluency)
  • Increased number of words and sentences in writing
  • Increased attention to detail
  • Fewer grammatical errors

Moreover, teachers find the curriculum easy to use and report that our lessons:

  • Teach useful knowledge and skills
  • Are a good use of class time
  • Keep students on task
  • Are beneficial and enjoyable for student

We look forward to discussing how DrawnToDiscover.com can bolster your students’ reading and writing achievement in a fun and engaging way! From whole class instruction to individual enrichment, our lessons are easily integrated with your classroom needs – I know we can be a great fit!

Data and Research

Data And Research on Drawn To Discover Lessons

A Summary of Research with the Drawn To Discover Curriculum

Barrett, 2019
After weekly classroom implementation, Pre-K to 2nd grade teachers in 23 schools across 10 districts in 2 states were surveyed about the quality and effectiveness of DrawnToDiscover lessons. (n = 62)

Teachers agreed that lessons:
Teach useful knowledge & skills = 98%
Are a good use of class time = 98%
Keep students on task = 94%
Are enjoyable for students = 100%

DeFauw, 2016
In a qualitative case study, the researcher observed 5 preschool teachers’ classroom implementation. Data were triangulated to explore the impact of drawing instruction on students’ pencil grip, drawing abilities, and handwriting development. (n = 24)

Lessons fostered:
Fine motor skill development
High student engagement & attention span
Self-confidence & pride in work
Attention to details & expressive language

Halperin, Smith, & Smith, 2013
This paper summarizes the work from 3 mixed-methods studies conducted over 5 years with students ages 4-8 who received weekly instruction.
(n = 92)

Weekly lessons:
Improved handwriting & drawing skills
High-level support from parents & teachers
Improved & sustained pencil grip
Improved grammar and punctuation
Higher word generation & more expansive written narratives

Leigh, 2017
In this qualitative analysis, the researcher conducted interviews with students from 2 first grade classrooms after a lesson and collected visual and verbal responses to assess the students’ meaning making. (n = 42)

Drawing descriptively each week allowed students to:
Explore powerful verbal expression
Develop complex writing skills
Deepen ways of composing meaning
Build strong foundations for future learning

Smith & Smith, 2011
In this longitudinal study, 2 groups of students were compared in the 3rd grade on a writing and drawing assessment: one group who received a weekly, 70-minute drawing lesson for two years (Kindergarten & 1st grade) and a comparison group. (n = 44)

Students who received weekly lessons:
+ 42% More sentences written
+ 34% More words used in writing
+ 51% More descriptive words used
+108% More details in drawing
– 64% Fewer grammatical errors
– 93% Fewer inaccurate words used



  1. Barrett, D. C. (2019). [DrawnToDiscover 2018 – 2019 teacher survey report]. Unpublished raw data.
  2. DeFauw, D. L. (2016). Drawing Children Into Reading: A qualitative case study of a preschool drawing curriculum. Early Childhood Development and Care, 186(4), 624-641.
  3. Halperin, W. A., Smith, M. L., & Smith, R. L. (2013). Drawing Children Into Reading: Studies of art lessons’ effects on literacy. Social and Behavioral Sciences, 106, 901-927.
  4. Leigh, S.R. (2017). First grade children discover the power of expression by creating descriptive drawings. In R. Meyer & K. Whitmore (Eds.), Reclaiming Early Childhood Literacies: Narratives of Hope, Power, and Vision (pp. 141-149). New York: Routledge.
  5. Smith, M. L., & Smith, R. L. (2011). Drawing Children Into Reading: Projects 64 & 120. A longitudinal study at South Haven Maple Grove Elementary. Report to the South Haven Community Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.drawingchildrenintoreading.com/assets/south-haven-foundation-report.pdf

Benefits and Q&A with Teachers and Administrators


Benefits and Q&A with Teachers and Administrators

Benefits of Drawn To Discover:

  1. Improves engagement
    One benefit that teachers mention the most is how engaged students are! When Drawn To Discover is integrated into lessons, students are more interested in the subjects they are studying. The lessons provide background knowledge and help students make new connections in their learning.
  2. Improves knowledge retention
    Through drawing, Drawn To Discover uses a S.T.E.A.M approach with subject matter. Research has shown that this approach improves retention, expression, and creativity. Additionally, students are simultaneously developing their pencil grip, building fine muscle control, and improving neural pathway connectivity.
  3. Facilitates individual learning for all needs
    Drawn To Discover provides great opportunities for students who struggle in the classroom and those who learn differently. Individual access to Drawn to Discover through learning centers or enrichment activities provides students the opportunity to learn and develop at their own pace.
  4. Encourages collaboration
    In Drawn To Discover classrooms, teachers observe increased collaboration among students. Students help one another with their pencil grip, organization techniques, and subject matter
  5. Increases creativity and fun with learning
    Students are excited when it is time for their Drawn To Discover lessons. They enjoy seeing their growth and improvement. With these increases in self-confidence and self-efficacy, comes a more positive approach to all learning.


What teachers want to know:

  1. Is this product useful to me and my students?
    Yes, classroom research has shown that Drawn To Discover lessons reinforce content knowledge and improve retention and comprehension.
  2. Has this product worked in other classrooms?
    Yes, the Drawn To Discover curriculum has been successfully implemented in classrooms for over 15 years. The Drawn To Discover platform is seeing the same success this academic year in over 25 schools in 16 districts across Michigan, Illinois, and California.
  3. Is this product easy to implement?
    Yes, the lessons are all available online. The videos can be projected for whole class instruction and they can be readily used on individual computers or tablets for small groups or individual learning. Mrs. Wendy provide direct, explicit instruction allowing teachers to move about the room to facilitate learning, offer assistance to individuals, etc.
    Lessons are aligned to Common Core standards so they are easily integrated into teacher lesson plans.
  4. What can I do with this program that I can’t already do now?
    We have 100’s of lessons to supplement your current lesson plans. Students are fully engaged for 45 minutes to an hour allowing you to move about the room to check for understanding, offer guidance, or provide assistance to students individually or in small groups.
  5. Where can I read about case studies of other schools?
    You can visit the website or contact us.
  6. Will it really make a difference and if so how?
    Teachers who have used Drawn To Discover lessons on a weekly basis have witnessed many improvements with student performance including:

    • Improved handwriting skills (legibility & fluency)
    • Increased number of words and sentences in writing
    • Increased attention to detail
    • Fewer grammatical errors
  7. I am afraid of losing control of the classroom.
    Drawn To Discover has shown to do the exact opposite. Teachers overwhelmingly report that students are focused, engaged, and on task following along as Mrs. Wendy leads the lesson. Indeed, after just a few lessons, students know how to prepare their work space and get ready for the lesson. In national survey, teachers reported many benefits from using the lessons in their classrooms and reported that the lessons:

    • Teach useful knowledge and skills
    • Are a good use of class time
    • Keep students on task
    • Are beneficial and enjoyable for students


What Administrators want to know:

  1. How do I test it’s accountability?
    Drawn to Discover lessons are designed to provide immediate feedback to both the student and teacher on performance and growth. Additionally, the curriculum has built-in formative and summative assessments to help teachers monitor progress.
  2. How will it increase test scores and student success?
    Research clearly demonstrates the link between handwriting and academic achievement – even in this increasingly digital age. Developing fine motor skills, self-regulation and attention, and emergent literacy and numeracy leads to improved outcomes for students academically, socially, and emotionally. Indeed, when attention, fine motor skills and general knowledge are grouped together, they are much stronger predictors for later math, reading and science achievement than early math and reading scores alone. Drawn To Discover lessons are designed to develop precisely these skills. Several studies have shown a clear link between weekly Drawn To Discover lessons and student achievement in the classroom and on standardized tests. You can read more about our research here (insert link).
  3. How will it help teacher retention?
    Drawn To Discover helps teachers in many ways.

    1. Provides flexibility: The lessons engage the students fully for 45 minutes to an hour allowing the teacher more flexibility with their role.
    2. Builds student capacity: The lessons develop requisite handwriting and literacy skills that have been shown to increase students’ legibility and amount of writing. Improved handwriting helps students keep up with coursework and makes it easier for teachers to assess progress (it’s much easier to see what a child has learned when you can actually read their writing).
    3. Easily integrated: When Drawn To Discover is integrated into the classroom, students are more interested in the subjects they are studying. The lessons provide background knowledge and help synthesize new learning. Moreover, this isn’t one more thing piled on for the teacher. The lessons are easily implemented and free up the teacher to focus on student needs.
    4. Increases job satisfaction: Drawn To Discover lessons build self-confidence and self-efficacy in students and they enjoy the lessons. When teachers have a classroom of happily engaged, self-confident students proud of their work and eager to learn more, it makes their job more enjoyable.
    5. Builds teacher capacity: The seminal research of Dr. Steve Graham with writing achievement has shown that a vast majority of teachers (approx. 88%) don’t feel adequately trained to teach handwriting. Drawn To Discover lessons complement classroom teaching in a very efficient way. Teachers don’t need to spend time or money receiving extensive training. And, they can learn valuable information along with the students.
  4. How much does it cost?
    A site-based license costs $3,000 per school and provides login credentials for all required educators for 1 year. Materials for the program, pencils, box of Crayola 64 crayons, and organizational tools, are available for an incremental per student price. Please submit an RFP for full district pricing or special needs.

What Educators are Saying

What Educators are Saying

Feedback from Teachers and Administrators

How do Drawn to Discover lessons compare to other methods of teaching handwriting skills?

  • The method is well taught.
  • Much better and more engaging
  • I like that it works on pencil grip.
  • I am currently using the preschool lessons with my kindergarten class. I like how letter formation and sound is incorporated into each lesson.
  • Much better and more engaging
  • They are more focused on handwriting and skills needed to improve their handwriting
  • More engaging
  • Better because it is fun practicing handwriting through drawing!
  • More engaging, teaches art skills too.

“When I used to teach second and third grade, I would have been very pleased if I had second graders coming into my classroom doing work that (now) my kindergarteners are exiting with at the end of the year…” -Sandy, Teacher, South Haven, MI


After teaching the lessons, what do you think is the biggest benefit to students?

  • They practice good penmanship and learn basic visual art skills, like blending colors too.
  • I think they have been paying better attention to their pencil grip and it is an engaging way for them to practice following directions, focus and concentration as well
  • Following directions and seeing the result of their listening skills.
  • It’s not just copying or tracing, but them learning they are in control and can do it!
  • Confidence
  • More attention to fine motor skills and attention to details
  • Pencil grip and fine motor skills
  • Neatness and confidence

“So many teachers were ‘oozing’ with enthusiasm. Two separate teachers shared samples of their special education students and how their Occupational Therapists couldn’t believe the progress the kids had made! It is affecting everyone!” -Joanne, Teacher, Poway, CA


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