Monday, November 3, 2014


Young writers can be inspired by their own illustrations. Many primary writing curriculums instruct students to draw a picture first and then write a story to go along with it.

In my picture book, No English, two girls overcome a language barrier by drawing pictures of their families and labeling them. They learn to talk to each other through pictures after a misunderstanding. 

While I had not originally intended to create a model suitable for writing instruction, No English does provide a fictional example of using pictures to communicate.

A teacher’s guide is available for No English on my website. This graphic will give you an easy template to use after reading the book to your students.

Before using the template, do a little brainstorming with your students. Ask them to draw their family in a group activity such as walking the dog or building a snowman. Make a list of activities families might do together. While a simple picture labeling family members can be an effective prompt for kindergartners, encouraging second and third graders to depict a family scene will produce more interesting stories. Students can be encouraged to add an emotional response to the family activity and other details of the experience. You may also want to ask your students to create a first draft of their picture in pencil and then color it in after their story is completed. Happy Writing!

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