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A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words


English Language Arts (2005), English Language Arts (NYS P-12 Common Core)

Grade Levels

Intermediate, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade


The Internet, magazines, and newspapers give the American public many beautiful pictures. More often than not the pictures of people do not include their conversation at the time of the picture. If a moment is special and important enough to be captured in a picture, then it must have some great conversation or thoughts that went on at the time of the picture.


Newspaper, Magazine, or Internet

*can also be connected to Instagram

Notebook Paper

Procedure: Search through favorite magazines, newspapers, or the Internet for a photograph that is appealing. The photo should be of two or three people. Choose a photo based not only on the number of people, but also on the photo’s appeal and the activity going on in the photo.

After choosing a photo, brainstorm about what is going on in the picture. Think about and write down what part each person plays in the picture and why they are doing what they are doing. When the brainstorming part of this exercise is complete write a short dialogue, approximately four lines for each person, communicating what each person is doing, feeling, and thinking. This exercise is most effective if dialogue is the only communicative writing being done. There should not be any fluff added to communicate what is going on in the picture.

Extension: Teachers/Parents: This exercise can be incorporated easily into social studies by having students study pictures from war, immigrants on the boat sailing toward America, slaves, etc. It is an excellent way for students to reinforce first-person writing skills. The exercise can easily be expanded into a full essay of the thoughts of one person in the picture without the use of quotation marks.


Upon completion of this activity, be able to state the rules followed when writing dialogue between two or more people and discuss the process used in creating dialogue from a simple photograph.


45 minute

Essential Question

How can quotation marks be used to communicate the thoughts and feelings of individual people?

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