ELL students learn literacy with help from photography

Use photos to help students learning English

At CMLE, we know for our member libraries (and for most libraries) assisting those who are learning English can be an important part of their job! Check out our previous post about the great work taking place at the Long Prairie branch.

This article from Edutopia discusses how photography can help students with their literacy. It includes reference to Wendy Ewald who has done extensive work on the subject. By learning to verbally reflect on and analyze photos, students get used to organizing their thoughts, a skill which translates well to writing.

There are five strategies that use photography to help develop literacy skills:

  • Focus – students notice details and describe what they are seeing
  • Portraits – the article shares several different exercises that utilize portraits, like learning about camera angle and the intention of the photographer in taking the portrait
  • Building Vocabulary and Using Evidence – using a photograph from a past time period, have students list the things they notice, and use this evidence to draw conclusions about when the photo was taken, who the people were, how they were feeling
  • Perspective Taking – students photograph an object from several different angles and notice the effect that the angle has on the tone of the photograph.
  • Telling a Story – students each take a picture they feel tells a story, then trade photos with a partner, who then interpret for themselves the story being told. Students can discuss their interpretations, and eventually, write them out.