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Visual Representations of Stories

Effective with students of all ages: Adapt materials appropriate for the students’ ages

Strategy Steps:

  1. Explain that the three pictures you have tell a story and that after discussion of each picture, the children will write a story about them.
  2. Show them the three pictures.
  3. Show them the first picture again. Give them time to look at and note the details.
  4. Discuss the picture with the students. Note all the important information.
  5. With each subsequent picture, students take more responsibility for the description.
  6. Younger students dictate a story to the teacher who writes it on the board. Guide them using questioning, if necessary, such as: What happened next? How did Susie feel? I think something important happened before that. What was it?
  7. When the story is completed, read it to the children. Ask if they want to make any changes.
  8. Have the students read the story.
  9. Take advantage of all opportunities to discuss English syntax and vocabulary. Ask questions such as:
    • What words did you use to describe Susie’s pet?
    • What sentence tells us about Robbie’s problem?
  10. The students decide how they want to publish the story.
  11. Older students can write their stories independently using the process writing steps.
  12. Monitor each student’s writing noting English language skills that have been attained and those that need direct instruction.

Variation: To introduce students to expository writing, use concept books. Concept books describe the various characteristics of a single object (e.g., kites) or a concept (e.g., toys, opposites). With younger children, first discuss the book and then have them describe the concept in writing.