Encouraging Storytelling With Family Photos

Use family photos as prompts for storytelling.

By Allison McDonald



Encouraging children to tell stories can be as simple as saying, "Tell me a story!" to a natural storyteller. But to a child who is apprehensive, this can be truly frightening. His mind goes blank, and he has no idea where to start!

Working on literacy with your kids at home shouldn't cause them stress. One tool I think is universally awesome when it comes to storytelling is a family photo album. Who says that storytelling has to only be fiction?

Here are some ways you can use family photos to encourage storytelling.

  1. Flip through pictures with your child and take turns telling stories about what you see. My 3-year-old loves hearing about her birth, and my 6-year-old likes to recount a story about the night when our car broke down. It's OK if they want to tell the same one over and over -- just keep offering new ones with new pictures worked in from time to time.
  2. Print out some pictures from a fun occasion -- like a birthday party, family vacation, or holiday -- and ask your child to put them in order of events.
  3. Print out or show your child a picture of an event from your childhood or life before she was born, and ask her to make up a story using clues in the picture.
  4. Tell a life story in 10 pictures or less. Print out a number of pictures and have your child pick 10 or fewer to put in chronological order to tell the story of his life. Include all the major milestones and some fun little details too. It's always fascinating to see what events kids choose to include. More than once, a birth of a sibling has been completely ignored! After putting the life story together, have your child tell you the story picture by picture.

What do you use to promote storytelling at your house? Share your suggestions on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page.

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