You are here

Picture to story

Average: 3.7 (72 votes)

This activity provides speaking and writing practice and uses learners' imaginations to create a story based on a picture.

Derek Spafford

This learner-centred activity also practises question forms and encourages collaboration and teamwork. The idea was influenced greatly by Jacosta Von Achten of the British Council, Bangkok.


Prepare a picture that is likely to stimulate the interest and imagination of your students.


  • Show a picture to the students and have them work in groups to prepare some questions about it. Below is an attachment with an example photo. Here are some example questions the students may ask. 

Who is the man?                       How old is the man?                Where does he live?

Who is he talking to?                 What is he talking about?        What is he saying?

How does he feel?                     Why is he looking worried?     What will happen to him?

  • When the students are working together monitor and help with the question forming. Provide advice and correction if necessary. If students are struggling to think of questions, provide prompts. 
  • When you feel the students have produced enough questions ask students to ask you the questions orally. 
  • When you receive a question ask another group to answer. 
  • When they answer (using their imaginations) write their answers on the board. 
  • When you have exhausted all the questions, have the students work in pairs and tell a story to each other based on the answers given. If they want to change any details tell them that this is fine. 
  • Change pairs and have the students tell their stories again.
  • Now change pairs again. This time ask them to write the story they have told together. 
  • Monitor and offer advice and help if necessary. 
  • Stick the finished stories on the walls and encourage students to read and comment on them. 


Give each pair of students a different picture. They must write a story based on the picture. If you have recording equipment available students could record their completed stories. This could then be played to all students while they look at a copy of all the original pictures. Students could then match the pictures to the recorded stories. Alternatively they could read the stories and match them to the pictures. 

Language level
Language Level: 
Intermediate: B1