Draw a story

Create a picture story with your young learners using this lesson plan and a story from LearnEnglish Kids.

Katherine Bilsborough

Every two years a 'Children's Laureate' is appointed in the UK. The position is awarded to an author or a writer of children's books in recognition of their outstanding work. In June 2015 the laureateship was awarded to illustrator Chris Riddell.

This lesson uses Chris Riddell's wonderful idea of turning children into illustrators. Learners will listen to a story and imagine each scene. Then they will work in groups, making colourful illustrations of key points from the story. When they finish they will put their pictures together to form a picture book version of the story. Finally they will use the picture book to retell the story in groups.

This activity works with most stories and can be adapted to use with other ages and levels. If you have a mobile device, you could also film the groups retelling the story, then send the recording to parents – but make sure you have parental permission to do this first.


  • To encourage learners to use English in a creative way
  • To develop learners' listening skills and visual skills
  • To enjoy listening to a story
  • To create a picture book
  • To retell a story using visual prompts

Age group



CEFR level A1 and above


50–60 minutes


The lesson plan can be downloaded in PDF format below. In addition, you will need:

Lesson plan365.1 KB
Language Level


Submitted by Htay Htay Swe on Sun, 11/22/2015 - 05:57


Students like stories and they can help them to produce their ideas and to learn new vocabulary. Thanks a lot.

Submitted by Lady of the Hills on Tue, 04/12/2016 - 22:01


Hello Katherine, Thank you very much! Great idea to let the students retell the story, using "their" personal book.

Submitted by Jason Jixun M… on Tue, 07/05/2016 - 01:54


The advantages of this lesson plan: 1. It attempts to construct a 'linking bridge' in Children's brains between 'thinking through sound' and 'thinking through imaginations'; 2. The final 're-telling story' part gives Children the chance to transform 'information-processing and acceptance' to be ' the self-expressions and re-appearance of the information with creative imaginations'. Meanwhile, it gave teachers the possibilities to test the effects of their lesson. However, as what stated in 'lesson plan' , it is a little bit hard to let children re-appear too much information depending on their lower ages and the abilities to memorize the information. I think, here, if teachers can self-collect some key words and imagines as the 'targets' - for examples: (1) if children can draw a square as 'carpet' and pronounce this word correctly; (2) if they can draw a house (no matter how good) 'as uncle's shop' and pronounce 'uncle's shop' ; (3) then, some trees with bananas upon as 'jungle' and pronounce it; (4) some ices as South Pole and pronounce 'South Pole'; (5) some curved lines as mountains etc.; and finally passing a mini-oral-test delivered by teachers ; the aims of this lesson can be totally fulfilled with flexibility, interests and control-ability. 3. Grouping&numbering children and videoing them, then sharing recordings with their parents (before it, we need to carefully get parental permissions to do it) - this series of practical pathway is another good point, which can integrate new technologies with our lesson. Meanwhile, it can also give children and their parents a good remembrance of children's growing stages in life. 4. To some children 'learning English as the second language' and in their very earlier years, the teaching targets should be reduced to more few. Associated by their mother tongues and body languages, children can memorize several very important key words and feel English's musicality and imagery beauties. That is good enough! To 'ESL' children, we can continuously progress this lesson in their different stages alongside their English abilities' improvement. Every time, there is a small step that they can remember more words and re-appear more imagines; every time, our teachers' responsibilities will accompany with their growth. All in all, thanks for this lesson and some creative ideas from this lesson!

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