Sure… labeling pictures is a fun and cute writing activity for your beginning writers but there are more reasons to label all the pictures than that!
Stage of Writing
Labeling pictures is an actual developmental stage of emergent writers. Many children will initially share their stories or ideas through pictures and then begin to use letters and sounds to represent objects in their drawings.
Labeling a picture introduces students to the idea that they can add print to their pictures and begin to represent objects and ideas with letters and sounds. Modelling this with your students is a great way to teach phonics in context. This can be effective at different levels. Emergent writers can label with beginning sounds and invented/phonetic spelling. Specific phonics skills can be practiced with more fluent writers by labeling pictures containing images of CVC/CVCE words, digraphs, word families etc.
Labeling a picture is a concrete way to introduce and review vocabulary. Connecting new words to an image helps reinforce the meaning. This makes it an effective strategy for both beginning and more fluent writers. Pictures with everyday items from the classroom or home can reinforce common vocabulary. Pictures introducing new concepts or units of study can get your students thinking about a topic and the vocabulary that goes with it. It can help you assess student prior knowledge of the topic. Do they know what the objects in the picture are called? This can bring up the words they will need to discuss the topic and highlight areas they will need to learn about. Labeling a picture at the end of a unit can act as a review of vocabulary and concepts learned.
Beginning Sentence Writing
Labeling a picture can be a little like a brainstorming session for students. The picture and words are already there……which provide a scaffold for writing sentences.
Independent Writing Activity
Independent writing in kindergarten and first grade can often feel a bit like an impossible task! Blank writing pages or booklets are all some students need to be on their way…. but other students need more support or direction to work on writing on their own (for more than about 5 seconds!) I created my labeling pages to provide students with an engaging writing task that had enough supports for all students to work independently. From open ended blank labeling sheets, to word boxes, cut & paste labels and word cards… students at all levels can work independently on this writing task.
We all have those students who will stare at a blank paper for hours, write one word, scribble it out and then rip up the paper….. They can’t think of anything to write about, aren’t ready to take risks and hate making mistakes! Labeling a picture is a safe writing task that can help them gain the confidence to move on to more independent writing activities.
Our goal… of course, is for students to move past this stage of writing but labeling a picture is also a useful way to:
- teach phonics in context
- develop vocabulary
- scaffold sentence writing
- provide our more reluctant writers with an independent writing task
So you can keep on labeling all year long! Looking for some labeling pages to add to your writing center? Click on my TPT Products Below.