Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words?

Looking for a creative writing assignment to compliment your LIFEPAC® or Switched-On Schoolhouse® Bible curriculum? Why not enlist the theory of the age-old proverb, "A picture's worth a thousand words"? Simply use a biblical illustration painted by a famous painter, such as "The Last Supper" by da Vinci or "Return of the Prodigal Son" by Rembrandt (or a picture found in your child’s Bible) and ask your child to write a 250-word, 500-word, or a 1,000-word narrative depending on his age. In this assignment, your child's understanding of art, the Bible, and writing is interwoven within the same lesson. How does it work? Read the following instructions and guide your child to a deeper understanding of the Bible with a colorful writing experience:

Writing procedure:
  1. Give your child a particular painting or image from the Old or New Testament. Ask your child to study the picture for five to ten minutes and to jot down notes about the details that he notices. Important: Choose a painting or illustration that tells a story with people in a clear situation.
  2. Consult your child's notes and have him brainstorm about the possible events and characters in the story. Have your child think of details that might have happened prior to the event or what might happen in the future as a result of the event. Your child will develop critical thinking skills as he interprets the events, along with identifying the characters, setting, and situation. Ask who, what, what if, where, when, how, and why questions to stimulate his thinking.
  3. Instruct your homeschooler to pick one character from the scene and to write the narrative using the feelings and emotions from this character's point of view.
  4. Help your child sketch out the order of events of his narrative.
  5. Review the following characteristics of a good narrative before your child begins writing:

    Characteristics of a Good Narrative
    • Reveals something of importance and focuses on a well-defined incident
    • Includes vivid details about the setting, character, and situation to bring the story to life
    • Presents the story line in chronological order
    • Contains feelings and thoughts: use the five senses - taste, touch, see, hear, smell
    • Uses precise verbs to show, not tell the progression of events
    • Includes dialogue
    • Uses appropriate transitional words or phrases to maintain coherence
  6. Based on your child's previous abilities in writing narratives, you may need to edit and have your child revise his work for clarity.
Give your child a new love for the Bible with this simple, intertwining writing technique. Not only will his understanding of God and the Scriptures increase, but he'll become a better writer as well.

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