1. Overview

Use picture cards to make up sentences, with an understanding of what a complete sentence is as well as its two parts.

creating sentences from pictures
“Can you tell me a sentence, a little story, about this picture?”
“The boy is kicking the soccer ball!”

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2. Materials

For this activity you will need:

Print the picture cards onto sturdy card-stock paper, and cut them apart along the dotted lines.

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3. Activity

Show your child a picture and ask him to make up a sentence about it. Then ask him who/what it’s about and what’s happening in the sentence. Finally, have the child repeat the whole sentence. Be sure that it is a complete sentence.

Video: How to play Creating Sentences
Adult: You’ve done a great job fixing my incomplete sentences.
            Now I’m going to show you a picture, and you’re going to
            make up a complete sentence about the picture.
           
[hold up picture] Tell me a sentence about this picture.
Child: The kids play in a soccer game!
Adult: OK, tell me the who it’s about part of your sentence.
Child: The kids.
Adult: Good. Now tell me the what’s happening part of your sentence.
Child: Play in a soccer game.
Adult: Now tell me the whole sentence. Say the whole thing.
Child: The kids play in a soccer game.

If the child creates an incomplete sentence, here’s how to guide him to a correct answer:

Adult: Tell me a sentence about this picture.
Child: Playing soccer!
Adult: OK, tell me the who it’s about part of your sentence.
Child: Umm…
Adult: I don’t think it has one. Can you give it a who it’s about part?
Child: The kids!
Adult: And what is the what’s happening part?
Child: Playing soccer!
Adult: Now tell me the whole sentence.
Child: The kids playing soccer.
Adult: The kids are playing soccer. Say that.
Child: The kids are playing soccer.
Adult: Good job! Say it again.
Child: The kids are playing soccer.

There are multiple “correct” answers the child can give. For example, if the picture is of a man carrying a box, he could say: “The man is carrying a box.” “That daddy picked up the box.” Or “The delivery man is holding the box with my birthday present!” If it fits the basic definition of a complete sentence, with a who it’s about and a what’s happening, then it is a correct answer.

Keep revisiting this activity until your child can easily create a sentence.

NOTE: To keep things simple, start out by using only people or animals, not inanimate objects (e.g., pencil), as sentence subjects. This makes it easier for the child to divide the sentence into who it’s about and what is happening.

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4. Confidence Builder

If the child struggles to create a sentence, even while looking at the picture card, prompt him by pointing to a specific item in the picture.

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5. Extension

Do this exercise without any visual props or pictures. Ask your child to create sentences about himself, his family, and his friends without any props to help.

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6. Variation

You can use a variety of images (from picture books, magazines, artworks, etc.) as materials for your child to create sentences. Challenge your child to produce multiple sentences for one image.

This is best done by having him change the what’s happening part of the sentence while keeping the same who it’s about. For example, you could create the following five sentences from just one of our picture cards:

  • The lady painted a picture.
  • The woman has short hair.
  • The artist holds a paintbrush.
  • The lady is using blue paint.
  • The grandma is wearing a purple sweater.

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7. Small Groups

Lesson Objective: Using picture cards as aids, children will create complete verbal sentences and identify the two necessary parts of the sentence (who it’s about and what’s happening“).

GELDS (Georgia Early Learning & Development Standards): CLL6.4d

Georgia Standards of Excellence: ELAGSEKSL2

Common Core State Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.K.2

Additional Materials:

  • optional: picture book or photos of class activities

Adaptation: Read the main activity, watch the video, and follow the instructions above, with one of the following changes:

  • Let each child choose a picture card. Then ask each child these questions: “Tell me a sentence about the picture. Who is the sentence about? What’s happening in your sentence?”
  • Hold up a picture for the whole group. “Who wants to give me a sentence about this picture?” Get a response. Call on another child to tell you the what’s happening part of that sentence. Have yet another child tell who the sentence is about.

Reinforcement: Use a picture book to guide the children through creating sentences. Select a storybook (with pictures) the children have recently heard, and re-read the story. Choose several illustrated pages and ask the children: “Who is the picture about? What is happening in the picture?

Then have the children put those pieces together: “Now tell me the whole sentence.” (E.g., “The duck is swimming in the lake.”)

Use this Reinforcement at Home form to tell parents and guardians how they can reinforce lessons outside the classroom.

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