EL Support Lesson

Captions for Illustrations

Use this lesson to help your ELs learn about the components that make a good caption for an illustration. This lesson can stand alone or be used as a pre-lesson for the *Caption Illustration! Say It With A Drawing* lesson.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Caption Illustration! Say It With A Drawing lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Caption Illustration! Say It With A Drawing lesson plan.

Students will be able to illustrate a picture and create a caption for it as it relates to a nonfiction text.


Students will be able to explain illustrations with nouns and associated pronouns using sentence frames.

(2 minutes)
  • Ask students to think about the term used for the pictures and images they see in nonfiction texts, and talk to a partner about examples they have seen.
  • Explain that illustrations are important features in nonfiction because they give more information about the text. The caption is the explanation about what the illustration shows.
  • Share that, in today's lesson, students will explain illustrations by creating short captions.
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute a Graphic Organizer Template: Frayer Model worksheet to each student and explain that this graphic organizer will be used as a tool to help them learn important vocabulary for the lesson.
  • Display a completed Frayer Model for the term text feature. Point out the important components and how you acquired the information to complete each section.
  • Assign each student one of the four vocabulary words (noun, pronoun, caption, illustration), and tell them that they will become word experts. Give them time to complete their graphic organizers.
  • Put students into groups of four, making sure there is a word expert for each vocabulary term. Instruct them to present their graphic organizers to each other.
  • Call on students to share their Frayer Model graphic organizers.
  • Facilitate a class discussion about the words and how they are related. Ask, "How are these words connected?"
  • Have students discuss the answer in their small groups before sharing out with the whole class.
(10 minutes)
  • Draw a T-Chart on the board, and label one side Nouns and the other side Associated Pronouns. List several nouns in the first column, such as gorilla, hurricane, zookeeper, visitors, monkeys, food court, mom. Write the corresponding associated pronouns in the second column, such as it, it, she/he, they, they, it, she.
  • Explain that nouns are used to name a person, place, thing, or idea, but if we use the same noun repeatedly, our writing becomes boring and robotic. Pronouns help us take the nouns out, while still creating a sentence that makes sense. Associated pronouns are words that replace nouns or noun phrases.
  • Display and distribute the worksheet entitled Illustration Explanation. Go over the first example in Part 1 by looking at the illustration and thinking aloud about what it shows. Then, read the caption aloud and pick out the nouns and associated pronouns.
  • Pair students together and instruct them to identify the nouns and associated pronouns in the next two examples in Part 1. Call on nonvolunteers to share their answers, and ask their peers to show a thumbs up if they agree and a thumbs down if they disagree. Call on peers to explain their thinking. Allow them to use the sentence stem: "I agree/disagree because __."
(10 minutes)
  • Direct students' attention to Part 2 of the Illustration Explanation worksheet. Explain that they will look at an illustration and explain it using a sentence frame.
  • Model thinking aloud about the first illustration, and show the class how to complete the sentence frame. Emphasize that you included a noun, and that the associated pronoun was given to you. Think aloud about if they match, and make any necessary adjustments. Reread the sentence frame aloud to ensure that it makes sense.
  • Instruct students to pair with a different partner to complete the final two examples in Part 2 of the worksheet. Circulate while partners work, offering support and feedback. Remind learners to reread their sentence frames aloud to see if they make sense and share the correct information about the illustration.
  • Call on nonvolunteers to share their sentence frames. Encourage other students to provide feedback about the answers (agree/disagree, praise, clarifying question).


  • Provide a partially completed Graphic Organizer Template: Frayer Model to complete in the Word Level section.
  • Display a sentence frame for students to use in the Word Level discussion. For example, "The words are connected because ____."
  • Support Beginning ELs by providing them with resources in their home language (L1).
  • Allow students to work with a partner to complete the Exit Ticket.


  • Instruct students to use complete sentences in the Graphic Organizer Template: Frayer Model worksheet.
  • Ask Advanced ELs to elaborate in class discussions by adding on to peers' answers.
  • Have students rephrase key information throughout the lesson for the class.
(5 minutes)
  • Distribute an index card to each student for the Exit Ticket. Display an illustration (without a caption) that students are familiar with from a nonfiction text and the following sentence frames:
    • The ____ is ____.
    • It has ____.
  • Instruct learners to complete the sentence frames based on the information they see in the illustration. (Note: The associated pronoun and verbs may change in the sentence frame based on the illustration chosen.)
(3 minutes)
  • Have students discuss their sentence frames in small groups. Then, ask them to share out as a whole group.
  • Remind learners that the captions are an important text feature because they give more information about the illustration. Captions help to connect the illustration with the nonfiction text, which helps improve readers' comprehension.

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