Emily Calhoun (1998) developed the Picture Word Inductive Model based on strategies for language acquisition. It uses pictures containing familiar objects, actions and scenes to draw out words from children’s listening and speaking vocabularies. This model helps students add words to their reading vocabulary, as well as their writing vocabulary, and also discover phonetic and structural patterns present in those words. This strategy is very effective with students who are learning English or that are struggling readers and writers.

The instructional sequence is presented in a predictable way each time you use this strategy. I have modified it a bit to work with my students:

First, we observe the picture using the I see, I think, I wonder strategy. This can be done orally or with a graphic organizer:

I usually put the picture on chart paper. Then we label the nouns in the picture, and write adjectives and verbs about the picture. Then finally students use those words to write sentences about the picture.
I also have students follow along on their own paper with the picture at the top:

I have a fantastic resource that puts it altogether for you! There are whole page photos, student copies and graphic organizers!

I am always trying to find the best strategies in working with my English Language Learners. Today I am going to share with you why you should be using photos with your English Language Learners to improve oral and written language skills.

1. Activities can connect to multiple standards and integrates well with the content areas.
2. Strengthen oral language development.

3. It is an excellent way to provide differentiation for English-language learners.

4. It relieves pressure from reluctant students or striving readers and writers by providing the opportunity to read and analyze photographs along with traditional print texts.

5. It represents a culturally responsive teaching method as it demonstrates a way to welcome all voices in the classroom to be heard and valued.

There are so many websites that you can use to find good quality images to use with your English Language Learners, here are a few of my favorites. All of these offer free photos and images:

There are so many great activities you can do with photos, they can be used as activating strategies before a lesson, or integrated with your science and social studies units. I have a great guide to using photos with English Language Learners, and it is FREE for you. Just click the pic to get your copy. It is filled with ideas, sample activities and graphic organizers:

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