Visual Storytelling

Share the wonder of visual storytelling with children using these imagery-based activities.

Wordless Books

Introduce the concept of visual storytelling with these wordless books.

Journey by Aaron Becker
A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it enters a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. The first in a trilogy.

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
A little boy rushes out into the wintry day to build a snowman, which comes alive in his dreams that night.

Sunshine by Jan Ormerod
Experience the start of the day from the perspective of a young girl.

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd
What is going on outside? Is it dark? Is it scary? Not if you have your trusty flashlight! An exploration of night, nature and art.

Tuesday by David Wiesner
Tuesday tells the story of an extraordinary day. A Caldecott Medal book.

Flotsam by David Wiesner
A day at the beach becomes a wildly imaginative exploration of the mysteries of the deep.

Discuss

Ask children the following questions to prompt a discussion around visual storytelling.

  • Why are pictures important in storytelling?

  • Can a story be a story with no words?

  • What are some examples?

  • Can a story be a story with no pictures? What are some examples?

  • If you hear a story with no pictures, can you imagine the pictures in your mind?

  • In what other ways have you seen pictures used to tell stories?

  • Provide children with examples of stories without words and without pictures.

  • Also consider animations, podcasts, radio plays, film, paintings.

Group Storytelling

Do this as a whole class, in small groups or in pairs.

  1. Collect a range of images and put them into categories: settings, objects and characters.

  2. Give each group one image from each category (e.g.: A clown, a hospital and a ukulele).

  3. Ask them to create a story using these as starting points.

  4. Share the stories.

First Nations Symbols

Some First Nations artists create art works that tell stories using symbols. This style of artwork has been created for thousands of years.

What is a symbol? A symbol represents something but doesn’t need to look realistic. Sometimes they are very simple representations and sometimes they are drawn from the perspective from above otherwise known as birds eye view.

Show children a series of symbols from Indigenous Art. See if they can guess what they mean and then reveal their true meaning. Show the class a First Nations Painting that includes lots of symbols and see if, together, they can decode it and work out the story.

Symbol Story

Ask children to paint or draw their own artwork, using symbols to tell a story.

Consider

• Using paint, pencils, collage

• Co-creating it with a partner

• Will it be a simple story or a complex one?

• Will it be fiction or biographical?

• Remember that the symbols can represent people, animals, nature, landscapes and

also modern things like a television, a chair, a bicycle and so on.

• Older students can write the story underneath.

More activities to try

Storytime with Temeka: The Story of Ferdinand Enjoy this classic tale of quiet individuality with Patch pal Temeka.
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Mirrors and Reflection Explore reflection and the magic of mirrors with these simple activities.
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CD Rainbow Activity Make a magical rainbow on the wall using a CD
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