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Over 140 Picture Prompts to Inspire Student Writing

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By Natalie Proulx

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Updated: May 31, 2019

Think The New York Times is only for readers at a high-school reading level? Think again.

Besides written articles, The Times also offers a rich collection of visuals — photos, illustrations, graphics, GIFs and short videos — that are accessible to learners of all levels. Since 2016, we’ve been featuring these images in our daily Picture Prompts : short, image-driven posts that invite a variety of kinds of student writing.

Teachers tell us they use these prompts in all kinds of ways. Some use them to encourage students to develop a daily writing habit . Others as an exercise to practice inferences , spark discussion or support reading . This year, one elementary school music teacher told us how her class used the visuals as inspiration for writing short stories accompanied by music .

For more ideas, we have a lesson plan on how to teach with Picture Prompts and other Times images, as well as a free, on-demand webinar that explores how to use our thousands of writing prompts for everyday low-stakes writing practice across the curriculum.

Below, we’ve categorized the 140+ prompts we published during the 2018-19 school year based on the type of writing they primarily ask students to do — whether it’s penning short stories and poems, sharing experiences from their own lives, telling us their opinions, or interpreting an image’s message. All are still open for comment.

You can find even more images in our Picture Prompt roundups for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years.

If you use this feature with your students, or if you have other ideas for how to use photos, illustrations and graphics to encourage writing, let us know in the comments section.

What story could this image tell? Use your imagination.

Three Dots Balloon Face Oars and S’mores Conversation Spaceship at the White House Around the Campfire Special Key Computer Screen 17-Foot Python Batman on a Couch Hanging With Friends Hole in the Ceiling In a Crowd Opossum Among Shoes Your Food Obsession Tech Gadgets Carrying a Letter Reaching Through the Wall Sledding in the Mountains Trees, River, Cottage and Sheep The Ride Headphones Leap In the Stands Shade Under the Table Security Line At Their Computers Tiny Stories Tarot Cards Haunted House? Driver and Bicyclist Red Ball Kneeling and Reaching A Letter in the Mail Campfire

Share experiences from your own life.

One Last Adventure Amusement Park Dog in a Backpack Generation Z Breakfast A New App Met Gala Tidying Up Take Your Child to Work Day New Homes Photos From Space Social Media Star Signs of Spring Literary Protagonists The Story of Your Name Dream Home Momo Gym Class Nostalgic Places Price Tags Night Owl or Early Bird Lunar New Year Rescue Pets Polar Vortex Facing Rejection Dreams Superstitions Holiday Season Astrology Favorite Books Journaling Caffeine Giving and Getting Candy Around the World Journeys Saying Thank You Nutrition ‘The Simpsons’ Man, Seal, Octopus Weddings The Night Sky Remembering 9/11 World’s Largest Prairie Dog

What do you think this image, chart or cartoon is saying?

Falling Bottles Focus Here Emojis Eagle and Gender Symbols Hand and Fist Jungle Gym Stacks of Money Magnifying Glass ‘Freedom From Want’ ‘The Writer’s Block’ Watching Walking Down the Street Gun Parts Globe and Books Head Full of Stuff Tight Rope Adventure New Faces Leaping Over Binoculars Brexit Floating Coins Giant Machine Blue Water Other People’s Burdens In a Maze Chalk Outline Hands on Their Shoulders Past and Future Pieces of a Flag From a Hole to a Balloon

What’s your opinion on this issue?

Spy Cams Jack-of-all-trades Gender Expectations Game Show Winner Royal Baby Movie Theaters Tiger Woods Wins ‘The Image of the Revolution’ Final Four Referees $430 Million Deal Student Climate Strikes Women’s History Month Legos and Battlebots Cash Reward Brushing Beagle Book Covers Super Bowl Commercials Math Fast-Food Buffet The ‘Bird Box’ Challenge Hands-On Parenting 2018 in Pictures The Outspoken N.B.A. Online Video Games Standout Steer California Wildfire Election Day Public Libraries Champions A Computer in Everything Snail Mail Fashion Trends Sleep Deprivation Household Chores Gymnastics on Horseback Song of Summer Giant Ice Disk

Want more writing prompts?

You can find our full collection of writing prompts, added as they publish, here . We also have a list of over 1,000 writing prompts for narrative and persuasive writing gathered from our daily Student Opinion questions . Plus, we have a collection of “ 40 Intriguing Images to Make Students Think ,” taken from four years of our weekly “ What’s Going On in This Picture? ” feature.

How to Write a Professional Story

Last Updated: December 19, 2022

wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 14 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. This article has been viewed 72,464 times. Learn more...

Do you have a great plot for a story, but can't seem to make it sound good in words? Don't worry! This happens to a lot of people - but here's a few steps that could help you.

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writing short stories based on pictures


writing short stories based on pictures


writing short stories based on pictures


writing short stories based on pictures


writing short stories based on pictures


writing short stories based on pictures


writing short stories based on pictures


writing short stories based on pictures

writing short stories based on pictures

Picture Comprehension

Story Writing Based on Pictures for Class 3 English

In this chapter, students will learn observation skills to draft a story given in picture comprehension for class 3. Students will know how to attempt creative story writing based on pictures with comprehensive examples. Make a note of the common mistakes that students should avoid in order to excel at writing a story for picture composition.

In this learning concept, the students will learn the:

The picture composition has illustrations, examples and creative charts to make the topic exciting. Students can access the free worksheets that consist of story-making from pictures. These worksheets are available with their solutions in PDF format.

In a picture composition students observe the picture carefully to describe it or put it in the form of a story.

A picture can be a worth a thousand words and ideas as popularly said.

Q. Look at the above picture. Write a story about the day you went to the park on a family picnic. Use the picture as a reference for your composition.

My family had decided to go on a picnic at a beautiful park. My father, mother, sister, and pet dog all left for the park early morning. We were excited to spend the time at the park. Since it is a little away from the city, we started our journey to the picnic spot early in the morning. We got a lot of food and toys. Once we got to the park, we selected a spot to place the mat. After we had got all our things, my father suggested we play with the Frisbee. My sister and I joined to play with him. We played football after that, and even our pet dog played with us. We had loads of fun. After a while, we ate a few sandwiches which mom had made. In the afternoon, we sat under a tree and rested for a while. In the evening, the tea and corn sellers passed by. We brought some corn and ate it happily. We ended our picnic before it got dark. It was a memorable day, and we enjoyed the entire day.

How to Write a Story from a Picture?

Setting – Where and When a story takes place? You can also introduce the characters here.

Action – What the character or speaker does? This part will include the actions of the character and a little bit of imagination to give it a story touch.

Characters – Name the characters to lend a personal touch to the story.

Emotions – The general mood as per the picture and how emotions change as the story goes forward.

You can conclude the story by giving a resolution to a problem or giving a general emotion where the reader would feel happy at the end.

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writing short stories based on pictures

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How To Use Image Prompts: Writing A Story From A Picture

Why image prompts work, tips for writing a story from an image, where to find picture prompts for creative writing, image prompt mood boards.

For example, if you are using an image of a beach, you could include pictures of people swimming, sunsets, waves crashing against the shore, etc.

if(typeof ez_ad_units!='undefined'){ez_ad_units.push([[300,250],'selfpublishedwhiz_com-large-mobile-banner-1','ezslot_5',112,'0','0'])};__ez_fad_position('div-gpt-ad-selfpublishedwhiz_com-large-mobile-banner-1-0'); Using Pinterest Boards As Prompts

Using images for fiction writing.

This is just one example of the many stories you could write from this single picture prompt.

What About Non-Fiction Writing? Can You Use Image Prompts, Too?

There's still so much more to learn 👇☺️, related posts, can you use ai to write a book the best ai novel writing software, pdf template for writing a book, can ai replace writers don’t worry just yet…, can ai write poetry this hack might help you write your first book of poems, about the author.

writing short stories based on pictures

Arielle Phoenix

KidZone:  Creative Writing Write a Story Based on the Picture

© Contributed by Leanne Guenther


Most children have a natural creative streak but as anyone who has tried it knows, getting an idea out of your head and onto a piece of paper can be very challenging!  Spark the children's imagination by providing them a picture on which to base their story.

Look over the picture.  Write a story based on what you imagine is happening.

Printable Templates:

Choose one of the pictures to distribute to the children:

Animals and a Cross

Fireworks and a Picnic

Frog and Alien

Lady and Leprechaun

Penguin and Mice

Snake and Caterpillar

Write a rough draft:  Use lined paper to print a rough draft of your story.

Final Draft

Use full page or half page templates to print your story.  Add illustrations.

You can do a cooperative project by having one student act as author and another as illustrator.  Having a Picture Story Board for the author to give to the illustrator can help the process.  Or you can have the children swap authored books and let them illustrate each others.  Having a different author/illustrator teaches the children how people collaborate to publish books.



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