Labeling Pictures to Support ELLs
Students at the beginning stages of writing need support with vocabulary development. One way to give this is to have students label pictures. This supports English Language Learners and beginning writers in learning new vocabulary and using beginning sounds. Here are some benefits of having students label pictures before they begin writing.
As students label a picture they are getting practice writing the vocabulary word. For ELLs, they might not know what all of the objects and actions in a picture are. Labeling helps them learn the new vocabulary that they can then use in their writing.
Labeling a photograph or other picture is a great way to introduce a new content topic. Students can visually see the new vocabulary. You can also use pictures as a way to assess student knowledge of a content topic. After completing a topic have students independently label a picture and then write about it.
You can show students a picture and have them label focusing on one part of speech (such as nouns). Then have them use a different color or a new picture and label a new part of speech (such as verbs).
Students can also label a picture and then sort the words into different parts of speech or other categories.
One challenge I have found is that there is not alway color ink available to print out photographs. You can avoid this by having students label photographs on the computer.
Scotzer is a free website where you upload a picture. It comes with easy to use tools including a text box. Students can label the picture and then save it to use later or print out.
Google Slides is another simple tool where you can upload a picture and then have students add labels. They can then write about the picture on a new slide or you can print out the labeled picture for them to write about.
Here are ready-made pictures for students to label and then write about. This set comes with 3 levels of pages. It includes a word bank, sentence frames, and a set where students draw and then label their own pictures.
For additional ideas, learn more about writing about photographs to support ELLs.