Inexpensive and accessible, digital photography gives us the opportunity to use its power of communication to teach every academic subject—a perfect tool for learning. Because an image communicates many things, we can use that as a springboard to help our children communicate verbally as well.
Over the years, studies have been conducted in which researchers gave cameras to young children. The findings showed that by taking photos, children gained a better grasp of communication as a whole, and when a child took a picture it inspired him to share it with others. This led to better verbal communication and increased writing skills. Researchers also were able to learn a lot about what children were thinking by evaluating the photographs they took.
Using photographs is a great way to prompt creative writing. When your child takes a photo, ask her to describe it or explain why she took that shot. If you go to an event, have your child take photos during different stages of the event. Then, when you get home, have her put the photos in order and write a caption about what is happening in each photo. This is a great way to practice describing a sequence of events.
Many writing teachers use photos as writing prompts. It can be used to teach descriptive or narrative paragraphs, as well as inspire ideas for creative writing. Photos of people can help children come up with ideas to create a character for a story.
Photography can be used to teach an object lesson in point of view. Go out in the yard, choose an object to photograph, and instruct your child to shoot it from the point of view of an ant or a giant or as the thing itself.
Finally, a very simple way to begin a study of photography is to start a photo journal or a photo blog with your child. Seeing his photos online and sharing them with others can be highly motivating for your child. Most of all, having the freedom to take photographs will give your child confidence and cause him to start looking at the world around him in a new way.
In the next article we will discuss ways to use photography to teach math concepts and enhance the learning of mathematics.
Lupe Tucker and her husband, Curtis, homeschool their five children in Florida. They publish this site, HomeschoolingFlorida.com and www.Homeschool-Evaluations.com, a portfolio review & standardized testing service. They conduct academic workshops across the country with the nonprofit organization www.KidsAboardWorkshops.org. A lifelong photographer, Lupe is always on the lookout for the perfect shot and is hopelessly addicted to photo books.