Search form

Writing Lesson: Practice Storytelling and Writing Using Pictures



Common Core Standard

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequencing.


Develops creativity, communication skills, and critical thinking.


Photos from a book at the appropriate reading level. 

Warm-Up Suggestions

  1. Welcome students to class and gain their attention.
  2. Have students do ten jumping jacks, count aloud, or start the lesson standing (especially if it's an afternoon lesson).
  3. Ask students to write one sentence about their day. (This increases students' understanding of applicability. Their own lives can also be understood as stories).

Activity Introduction


"Good morning, everyone. Today we are going to practice our storytelling skills. I have a book here (hold up the book and allow the class to see it). We will look at the photos in this book and see if we can write a story based on the pictures. Then, we'll see how it compares to the real story. First, I have a couple of questions for you, and then we will get right into it."


"What is a story?" (Allow a few students to answer).


Write down each answer as a potential definition of "story."


  • "Do your parents read you stories before bed?" (Allow a few students to answer).
  • "What if you could make your own story based on just pictures?"

Activity Organization

Organize students into groups if you have a large class where discussion could be overwhelming. Alternatively, the entire class can work on one story together. In either case, both groups will have the same goal - to create captions for each photo to complete the story. 

For each picture, students will write a sentence or paragraph about what is going on in the picture. You'll write these options beneath each picture; the class will decide which to use, then you'll read the story to the class as they've written it.

This assignment can be a quick task or drawn out to be more than one lesson. It will depend on the age of your students, the unit you are currently in, and the end goal of the assignment (publication or simple graded assignment).


"Look at the picture in front of you. I'm going to set our timer for 5 minutes, and we will write as much as we can about this picture to tell our story. Think about the people in the photo, the background, and what's happening. Who are these people? What do you think they might be doing or saying?"


  1. Set a timer for 5 minutes. Complete the picture rotation until all the pictures have been written about.
  2. When each group of students has looked at each picture and written something, bring the class back together to collaborate. 
  3. Tape all story pictures on a whiteboard in front of the class. Or display them on your shared computer screen.
  4. Call on each group's selected "reader" to share their story in front of the class. As they read, you can write their ideas under the pictures. It is okay to allow for more than one storyline. 
  5. When everyone has shared their unique story, make sure each group has their names on their paper and collect them to be graded and returned. 
  6. Read the actual book and compare the students' stories to what happened in the book. 

Concluding Questions to Ask and Tasks to Complete


  • What did you learn about cooperation and teamwork from this assignment?
  • What was your favorite part of the assignment?
  • If you could add anything to the story, what would it be? 
  • Would you rather write a story based on pictures you see or draw pictures with the words you read? (Assessing students' strengths).

These questions can be asked as a group or in a follow-up homework assignment.  

Turn Your Assignment Into a Personalized Book for Your Class

Even though you'll read the published book, this assignment presents an exciting opportunity for students. A neat option for future assignments like this one is to look at services that turn student work into books.

School Mate Publishing and Student Treasures offer affordable options for turning your student's work into a published book. Students can purchase books, or you may choose to fundraise to buy a book for each student in your class. These books are a great way to showcase student work and progress from the year of learning.

Written by Melanie Barrozo 
Education World Contributor
Copyright© 2022 Education World