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Using Illustrations to Trigger Memories

I met a fantastic educator, Susie Barcus, from Fort Worth, TX when I attended the August Writing Institute at TCRWP.  We worked together in a small group where we shared some of our favorite “early in the school year” minilessons.  She shared a minilesson with the following teaching point: Writers use illustrations to trigger memories and get ideas for writing.  I wasn’t sure where she was going with the minilesson at first.  But as she demonstrated the way she looked at a book cover, thought about memories it brought to mind, and then jotted down those memories, I wished I had this one in my repertoire when I was in the classroom.  When I eventually go back to a classroom of my own, I know I will infuse this one into my launching unit of study.  Until then, I thought it would be a great minilesson to share with you.

Susie graciously shared some of the resources she uses for this minilesson, which you can download by clicking on the links below.

A tip from Susie: Since students have a smattering of interests and life experiences, you’ll want to have a variety of books kids can examine so they can jot down ideas of things they can write about.



minilesson, tcrwp

Stacey Shubitz View All

Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.

6 thoughts on “Using Illustrations to Trigger Memories Leave a comment

  1. I love adding to my repertoire of minilessons to begin the year. Susie, thanks so much for sharing the charts with us. And thanks, Stacey, for sharing your discovery from the August Writing Institute with us.


  2. Love it! I have use visual art for years with writing. We have a class discussion using the beginning question “What do you think is going on in this image?” I love this twist to look at book covers and develop personal writing ideas. Thanks for sharing Suzies great work.


  3. Thanks so much for this writing idea. I have used images before but never thought of using book covers to create writing ideas. I’ve had students design their own book covers for books they have read. This is like a turn around version. Also, thanks for all the flipcharts. I love it when I get a store of resources.


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