Think The New York Times is only for readers at a high-school reading level? Think again.
Besides written articles, The Times also offers a rich collection of visuals — photos, illustrations, graphics, GIFs and short videos — that are accessible to learners of all levels. Since 2016, we’ve been featuring these images in our daily Picture Prompts: short, image-driven posts that invite a variety of kinds of student writing.
Teachers tell us they use these prompts in all kinds of ways. Some use them to encourage students to develop a daily writing habit. Others as an exercise to practice inferences, spark discussion or support reading. This year, one elementary school music teacher told us how her class used the visuals as inspiration for writing short stories accompanied by music.
For more ideas, we have a lesson plan on how to teach with Picture Prompts and other Times images, as well as a free, on-demand webinar that explores how to use our thousands of writing prompts for everyday low-stakes writing practice across the curriculum.
Below, we’ve categorized the 140+ prompts we published during the 2018-19 school year based on the type of writing they primarily ask students to do — whether it’s penning short stories and poems, sharing experiences from their own lives, telling us their opinions, or interpreting an image’s message. All are still open for comment.
If you use this feature with your students, or if you have other ideas for how to use photos, illustrations and graphics to encourage writing, let us know in the comments section.