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Lesson Plan

Draw a Story: Stepping from Pictures to Writing

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Draw a Story: Stepping from Pictures to Writing

Grades K – 1
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 40-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Renee Goularte

Renee Goularte

Magalia, California


National Council of Teachers of English



From Theory to Practice



As a class, students read the wordless picture book Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola, telling the story themselves as they read the pictures. Next, they draw a picture of a person doing something, and tell the story of their picture. After sharing and discussing each other's pictures, students draw a second picture to show what might happen next. Working at their own pace, they continue the story by drawing pictures showing the problem and solution. When all the pictures are complete, students put them in order and write or dictate the story that goes with them. Finally, students create an accordion book from their drawings and text.

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In discussing two 1984 studies of emergent writers, Marjorie Siegel writes: "both studies showed that when young children wrote, they did not just make meaning through linguistic signs. As Harste et al. argued (1984), talking, gesturing, dramatizing, and drawing are 'an intimate and integral part' of the writing process (p. 37)." In "Different Texts, Different Emergent Writing Forms," Liliana Barro Zecket writes: "..these children's early literacy performance highlights the often overlooked value of using children's readings of their own texts as a way to explore their emergent knowledge of written language. Young authors' readings of their own compositions are better windows to their emergent understandings of the functional aspects of written language than are their written products considered in isolation."  This lesson marries the multimodality of combining drawings and written text with the satisfaction of reading their own drawings to enable young children to use their own experiences in writing to create sequential stories that are meaningful to them.

Further Reading

Zecket, Liliana Barro. "Different Texts, Different Emergent Writing Forms." Language Arts 76.6 ( July 1999): 483 - 490

Read more about this resource


Siegel, Marjorie. "Rereading the Signs: Multimodal Transformations in the Field of Literacy Education." Language Arts 84.1 (September 2006): 65-77.

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