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high quality photo or picture stories?

  • 1.  high quality photo or picture stories?

    Posted 03-02-2020 14:58
      |   view attached

    I'm on the look out for high-quality photo or illustrated picture stories to use for eliciting past/past continuous (progressive) .

    I tried checking out some Open resource sites (e.g. , but they seemed to feature mainly low-level and low-quality materials. I've also looked at some "picture story" texts out there, but they seemed geared for children and have very bare-boned line-drawings. Instead, I'm trying to find visual narratives that are a bit more 'professional' (i.e. realistic and with more detail).
    Getty images, Shutter stock, iStockphoto, and a few other stock photo sources have some photo sets that are narrative in nature (as proof of concept, I'm attaching one such example of photos that I found there), but I have found it very difficult to search for these using the filters on their sites.

    Could anyone recommend possible sources -- including paid ones-- for narrative photo sets or higher-quality story illustrations anyone could recommend?


    Rob Freeman
    Chairperson, Language & Culture Department
    Delaware Technical Community College
    Wilmington, Delaware
    (302) 571-5318 (office) and (814) 592-3610 (cell)


    sample photo series.pdf   261K 1 version

  • 2.  RE: high quality photo or picture stories?

    Posted 04-02-2020 03:41

    Here are a couple of ideas. I don't know if they're the kind of thing you're looking for, but I have found them helpful.

    First, I like Le Ballon Rouge by Albert Lamorisse. It is published as an illustrated book (also translated into Spanish as El Globo Rojo) and as a 34-minute film. The language the book is written in doesn't matter if you are focusing on the illustrations rather than the text.

    I have used the movie in segments with a beginning ESL class using the Language Experience Approach. After watching a segment together, the class as a whole narrates what they saw and I write it on the board. This is followed by other activities.

    Rather than the movie, you could use photos from the book. For example, you could show the class a photo and have them describe what they see happening in the photo for you to write on the board. You can use situations from the story line to engage students in using different verb tenses. You could have them share their ideas about who and where the boy is and why he is doing what he is doing. They could predict what will happen next. Then repeat with the next photo. Later, the class can construct a whole story based on the series of photos.

    Second, I really like books with illustrations by Chris Van Allsburg. They are really well-done and intriguing. I found college-aged English learners enjoyed them. Van Allsburg has produced a number of illustrated books that you might find of interest. I based a unit on his original Jumanji book (I bought a class set).

    Hope this is helpful.

    Martha Iancu
    Associate Professor Emerita
    George Fox University
    Newberg, Oregon USA

  • 3.  RE: high quality photo or picture stories?

    Posted 05-02-2020 09:15
    Sara Varon also has some wonderful illustrated stories that I have used successfully in different skills classes including grammar. I highly recommend them! Robot Dreams and Sweater Weather are two such books.

    Amy Chastain
    The University of Iowa
    United States

  • 4.  RE: high quality photo or picture stories?

    Posted 04-02-2020 08:29
    Pixabay and Unsplash might be a good start. They also use Creative Commons licenses and are high quality! I hope that helps!

    Charity Davenport
    University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
    United States

  • 5.  RE: high quality photo or picture stories?

    Posted 04-02-2020 09:43

  • 6.  RE: high quality photo or picture stories?

    Posted 05-02-2020 10:05

    The good dog Carl picture board book series is entertaining for adults as well as children.  I know researchers who have used it for language elicitation work.

    Karen Stanley
    Professor, Academic ESL
    Central Piedmont Community College
    Charlotte, NC USA

  • 7.  RE: high quality photo or picture stories?

    Posted 06-02-2020 07:44
    And yet another wonderful author is Robert Munsch (Cdn!!!!) whose illustrated
    pictures of each story he tells are GREAT for group discussions/activities.  Always a
    delightful surprise ending that nobody has thought of.  Enjoy!!!!

    Joyce Cunningham
    Ibaraki University

  • 8.  RE: high quality photo or picture stories?

    Posted 10-02-2020 16:14
    There is a whole universe of graphic novels out there to be explored.  I have not personally used them in language teaching, but there are numerous award winning titles, with a wide variety of target audiences.

    Raina Tegelmaier is a very popular author of graphic novels and is widely read in middle schools. My kids love her work.

    A quick search for middle school titles brought up numerous links,such as:

    This is an enormously popular and quickly growing genre, so you should be able to find a materials for a wide range of readers, including young adults and adults.

    Matt Hildebrand
    Curriculum Support Instructor
    University of Manitoba, English Language Centre