Talking About Texts with Photos A Practice Guide for Students and Parents

One challenging thing for students in 5th grade is to read texts, including books, commercials, speeches, and films, and to make inferences - to "read between the lines" of what is meant, but not stated. Further, students are asked to give reasons for their inferences and interpretations of texts - not just what you think the text means, but how you know that's what it means. Some students struggle to give evidence, or support their thinking, from the text.

All of the terms below are used in the 5th grade curriculum. Working with pictures helps them immediately access a "story" to practice thinking about inferences and evidence.


  • What is happening in this "story?" How do you know?
  • What do you notice about the setting and other descriptive details?
  • What might reasonably have happened before this moment? Why do you think so?
  • What might reasonably happen after this moment? Why do you think so?

Point of View

  • What might this story be about? What else might it be about?
  • What unseen characters might reasonably part of this story?
  • Which POV would be best to tell this story - first person, third person limited, third person omniscient, or multiple narrators? Why?


  • What might reasonably be happening in this story?
  • What details do you notice in the setting that could affect what happens?
  • Imagine one element of the setting changed - the season, a landform, the era in time - how might the story change with it, and why?


  • Who might reasonably be the protagonist in this story? Who might be the antagonist? Why do you think so?
  • Who else could reasonably be the protagonist and antagonist? What evidence suggests that could be true?
  • Who might the supporting characters be (seen, or unseen)?


  • Who might be speaking, and what might be reasonable for them to say? How do you know?
  • What kind of language might each different character use (slang, formal, joking, casual, indifferent, supportive)? How do you know?
  • What might the point of this scene be in the larger story?

Figurative Language

  • What is some sensory imagery (sound, sight, touch, taste, smell) you might use to describe this scene?
  • What is a simile or metaphor that could be used to describe this scene?
  • What is onomatopoeia, alliteration, personification, or hyperbole that could be used to describe this scene?

Plot Elements

  • What is flashback?
  • What is foreshadowing?
  • How might flashback or foreshadowing connect to the story of this picture?

Genre - Fiction

  • How are a poem, a play, a novel, and a myth different from each other?
  • How might this picture represent each of those kinds of texts, and why?

Genre - Nonfiction

  • What is the difference between procedural ("how-to") texts, persuasive texts, and biographies?
  • How might this picture be part of each of those kinds of texts? How do you know?

You can use these kinds of questions with picture books, magazine articles, and independent reading selections.

The End

Created By
Jamie Wright


Created with images by Allen Taylor - "Sunday Morning Pillow Fight" • rawpixel - "untitled image" • SplitShire - "guitarist acoustic guitar man" • sasint - "children river water" • NeONBRAND - "untitled image" • jplenio - "nature waters lake" • Ben - "3 of my favourite things." • PIRO4D - "moon castle full moon" • diapicard - "birthday cake birthday cake"