Labeling Pictures

hand holding a marker up to a whiteboard

Purpose:  A structured and supported way for beginning writers to develop their spelling skills while practicing vocabulary and writing full sentences.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Materials Needed:  handouts with a photo printed on the top part of the paper and lines for writing on the bottom half (see attached example below)


  1. Give each learner a copy of the picture, or put a copy of the picture up on the projector so all of the learners can see it.
  2. Write “I see ______. Ask the learners to describe what they see in the picture using this sentence frame (example: I see a grandmother. I see a pillow. I see two children.).
  3. After the class has described the picture out loud as a class, break them into small groups of two or three. Have them take turns describing the picture to their partner or small group.
  4.  Bring the class back together. Point to one item on the picture (either on the projector or holding a copy of the picture up if you don’t have a projector) and ask the learners “What do you see?” Prompt the class to respond using a full sentence “I see a…”
  5. Ask the class how to spell the item. As they spell it, label the item in the picture. Prompt the learners to label the word on their own pictures.
  6. Follow steps 4 and 5 for the rest of the items in the picture.
  7. Once the items are labeled, model how to use the labeled words in the picture and the sentence frame to write complete sentences below the picture.

Modification 1: If you have learners that are higher level, invite them to come up to the board and write the labels on the picture.

 Modification 2: If you have time, have learners pair up or mingle with other learners after they have finished writing their sentences and read their sentences to a partner or several other learners to practice developing their literacy skills.

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