Focus Lessons: How Photography Enhances the Teaching of Writing

Ralph Fletcher

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Focus Lessons: How Photography Enhances the Teaching of Writing

By Ralph Fletcher
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Ralph Fletcher
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"Writers, like photographers, are image makers."

We teach our students to write using words and sentences that create a desired effect. You might encourage them to zoom in on a small moment, focus on a specific detail, or experiment with a new point of view. The language of writing has a natural link with photography.

In Focus Lessons, Ralph Fletcher makes this connection clear. He offers new ideas about how this link can enhance your instruction.
  • Using a camera as a writer’s notebook
  • Taking pictures to spark creativity
  • Learning to “read” images as mentor texts
  • Helping students develop writing from photos
Ralph also shares fifteen craft lessons that draw on the photographic world. Each lesson highlights a different technique like creating tension, using arresting details, or setting a mood. Then he shows how to achieve each one—in both photography and writing.
Table of contents
  • Part One: The Journey
  • 1) Getting Close: A Personal Note
  • 2) Steep End of the Learning Curve
  • 3) The Camera as Writer’s Notebook
  • 4) Upon Reflection
  • Part Two: The Classroom
  • 5) Craft Lessons
    • One: Beware the So-What? Pretty Picture
    • Two: Consider the Point of View
    • Three: Capture Arresting Detail
    • Four: Bring Something Strong
    • Five: Create Tension
    • Six: Play with Foreground and Background
    • Seven: Take a Wide Perspective
    • Eight: Zoom in Close
    • Nine: Create the Right Mood
    • Ten: Include an Extra Element
    • Eleven: Embrace Surprise
    • Twelve: Show Motion
    • Thirteen: Draw in the Viewer
    • Fourteen: Use Gesture to Reveal Character
    • Fifteen: Tell the Truth
  • 6) What’s Happening in This Photograph?
  • 7) Photographing to Learn
  • 8) How Photographs Spark Writing (or Do They?)
  • 9) Double Exposure: Ralph Talks to Ralph