What Story Does
a Picture Tell?
to read and write using photo-essays
Using any of the many dozens of high quality trade book
photo-essays, the following is a more detailed outline of one possible starting
point for using these books in your classroom.
- Individual copies of photo essays which the students
have not yet read.
- Pre-made sleeve/mask covering the text next to a
particularly interesting photograph (teacher must prepare this ahead of time).
- Writing paper and pencil for each student.
- Students open to the page with the masked text in the
book, and do not yet remove the mask.
- Students work together to generate a list of questions
and observations about the picture. While they are doing this, the teacher can
guide their thinking with questions like the following:
- Can you describe what’s happening in this picture?
- If you were going to write text to explain this
photograph, what would you need to find out?
- What are some specific things about the picture you
notice? What do you think other readers should notice?
- How does this picture feel or sound?
How will you show this in what you are writing?
- Remove the paper and compare your ideas with the text
that is written. What are the similarities? What are the differences?
Possible next steps:
- Students work on their own photo essays (digital cameras
and modern computer printers put professional results within everyone’s
- Students write their own version of a text to accompany
some of Seymour’s photographs.
- Students collect their own photographs to arrange in
photo essay form.
- Students write book talks about a Seymour Simon photo
All materials featured on this site are the property of the Elementary Science Integration Projects (ESIP) and/or their respective authors, and may not be reproduced or distributed in any form, printed or electronic, without express written permission.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 9912078. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.