3 Ways to Use Picture Writing Prompts for Kindergarten


Teaching students how to write is a big challenge, but it’s even more challenging in kindergarten!  Our students come to school with all different ability levels. Some students start the year already writing a full sentence while others can barely write their names.  As teachers, we need to meet all of their needs at once.  Picture writing prompts for kindergarten are a great way to support all of the beginning writers in your class.

The Benefits of Kindergarten Picture Writing Prompts

If you have students who are reluctant to write, adding pictures to your writing prompts can motivate them to get words on paper.  Picture writing prompts give students ideas to connect with and it takes away the common excuse of “I don’t know what to write about.” Plus, these prompts help students stay focused on a specific topic.

Picture writing prompts also help students who don’t enjoy drawing.  We know how important it is for students to get plenty of fine motor practice through drawing and coloring. Illustrating their own writing can be an engaging way for students to practice their drawing skills.  However, this can be frustrating for some students.  

A variety of octopus picture writing prompts

Picture writing prompts allow students to practice fine motor skills through coloring, without the stress of coming up with an entire illustration. They can still add their own details to the provided picture but the majority of the illustration work is done for them.  After all, not all authors illustrate their own books!

3 Ways to Use Picture Writing Prompts for Kindergarten

There are many ways that you can incorporate picture writing prompts into your kindergarten classroom.  By using these picture writing prompts in different ways, you can best meet the needs of all the beginning writers in your classroom. Differentiating writing assignments doesn’t ave to be complicated!  I wanted to share three examples of how you can use picture writing prompts to differentiate writing practice in your classroom.

1. Pair with Sentence Starters

Pairing picture writing prompts with sentence starters is a great choice for students who have a more difficult time with the writing process.  When young learners are just beginning to get words on paper, writing can be a discouraging experience for them.  They have to come up with the content of a sentence while focusing on proper spacing, punctuation, letter formation, and capitalization. Giving students the first few words of a sentence can go a long way to ease their frustration.

An octopus sentence writing picture prompt

When students only have to come up with a word or two in order to write a complete sentence, it sets them up for success. Then, for the students who are able, you can encourage them to write a second sentence, too! This is a great way for beginning writers to build confidence.

Sentence starters are also helpful for students who need more practice with letter formation.  The sentence starters can be printed in traceable letters, so students can practice writing letters with the proper formation.

2. Add a Writing Checklist

If you have students in your class who are capable and confident writers, you can adjust your picture writing prompts to support their skill level.  You can choose to give them a paper that has only the picture for the prompt or just a few words as a sentence starter.  Since students will be coming up with their own sentences, adding a sentence writing checklist is helpful.

A picture writing prompt with a dog and a writing checklist

Adding a writing checklist to your picture writing prompts can keep students focused on mechanics at the beginning of the year. You can either have a separate sentence checklist on a sheet of paper or include the self-check on each paper above the picture writing prompt.  Either way, a checklist can remind students how to write complete sentences. This is a helpful way to encourage students to be more independent writers.

3. Create Monthly Journals

Monthly journals with picture writing prompts are a great way to differentiate writing practice for the students in your class.  You can create monthly writing journals that all have the same cover.  The writing prompts inside each journal can be different for students based on their needs.  Since the covers are the same, everyone feels included during independent writing time, regardless of which prompts they have in their journals. 

Writing prompts with a journal cover

I suggest assembling journals at the beginning of the month for a low-prep writing activity that will last for four weeks at a time! They are easy to use during small group instruction, literacy centers, or even during whole group writing practice time. 

More Tips for Using Picture Writing Prompts in Kindergarten

Be sure to check out this video where I share several different tools and ideas that I have used to support beginning writers.  I have cued the video to where I begin talking more about picture writing prompts.

Printable Picture Writing Prompts for Kindergarten

Would you like to try picture prompts but you don’t have the time to come up with ideas?  I’ve got you covered!  I have created a bundle of seasonal picture writing prompts and sentence starters for the entire year.  You’ll even find cover pages to help you create monthly journals.

Each group of picture writing prompts has three different levels of sentence starters, plus a blank page with a sentence writing checklist for students who are ready to write their own stories!  This resource will grow with your students as their writing skills improve over the course of the school year. 

If you’d like to take a closer look at everything included in this resource, you can find it in the Teaching Exceptional Kinders shop or on TPT.

Save These Kindergarten Picture Writing Prompts

If you’d like to use picture writing prompts in your classroom, be sure to save this post!  Just add the pin below to your favorite teaching board on Pinterest.  You’ll be able to quickly find these tips and ideas when you’re looking for picture writing prompts for kindergarten. Saving this pin will also help other busy teachers find this low-prep writing activity for beginning writers. 

3 Ways to Use Picture Writing Prompts in Kindergarten



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