A Picture Is Worth...A Thousand Learning Moments

The month of May is National Photography Month (NPM)! Use this celebration, which the United States Congress officially recognized beginning in 1987, to support the literacy and learning growth of your child.

Here are just a few ways to use NPM in creating rich learning moments:

  • Search! Finding great pictures can also be a thousand-word journey! With your child, decide what kind of photos you want to find. Will you start at home with your family photos - or go online to look for exotic animal pictures?
  • Sort! Sorting and sequencing are complex cognitive behaviors that children need for school success - and photos are a great opportunity for both! This is especially good for printed family photos that may not have been organized yet. (Does anyone else have a big box of jumbled-together photos labeled "2000-2016"? No? Just me?)
  • Talk! Looking at (and searching and sorting) photos will give you a natural opening to talk with your child about...everything! Tell them about your Great Aunt Patricia and her adventures teaching in a Kansas one-room schoolhouse. Ask them why they like spider monkeys. Talk about what you see in photos, what you want to learn more about because of the photos, or just how they make you feel.
  • Write! Using pictures as writing prompts can be especially effective with old photos of unfamiliar people and places. The Library of Congress has digitized a massive collection of old photographs at http://www.loc.gov/pictures perfect for this use. Find a photo you both like and write in response to "What is going on here? How is this person feeling? What happened right after or right before this picture was taken?"

Finally, take a selfie together to cap off your learning and celebrate National Photography Month with a picture you will treasure always!

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