Resource 4: Using pictures as a stimulus for story writing

Teacher resource for planning or adapting to use with pupils

Pictures or photographs can be a very good stimulus for creative writing for your pupils. Discussion focused around a picture can stimulate ideas before pupils write their own stories or poetry.

You can discuss a chosen picture or photograph with the whole class or have more copies of the same or different images so that they can discuss them in groups. If you have a large class, you may need to have many more images or work with half the class at a time while the other half of the class is working on another task.

The following questions can be used with any picture to stimulate ideas and imagination. You can write the questions on the chalkboard and discuss them as a class or give each group a set of the questions and ask them to report back after a few minutes. Some of these questions will not be useful with every picture. You will have to select those that fit your purpose best and maybe add your own questions to the list or ask your pupils to raise questions about the picture.

  1. What do you think is happening in this picture?
  2. What do you think it is called?
  3. What catches your interest in this picture? Why?
  4. What do you like in this picture?
  5. What do you not like in this picture?
  6. What is the story around this picture?
  7. What led up to this picture being painted / photograph being taken?
  8. What do you think will happen next?

Record pupils’ answers on the chalkboard so that they can look at these as you set them the task of writing a story, but encourage them to be creative and use their own ideas.

Encourage them to think what happened before the picture and maybe start their story there.

Resource 3: Pictures for stories