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Literacy through Photography

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Keywords: Book Making
Subject(s): Art, Technology, Writing, Photography, English/Language Arts
Grades 4 through 5
Original Author: Gayle Varre, Pittsburgh
Project Summary:

Since 2003, I have implemented an after school and summer program based on the Literacy through Photography Model out of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. The curriculum resource for the program is the book I Wanna Take Me a Picture: Teaching Photography and Writing to Children by Wendy Ewald.

Literacy through Photography encourages children to find their unique voice through photographs and written text. Students photograph scenes from their lives, and these images become a catalyst for related writing exercises. Themes explored include self portrait, family, community, visual storytelling, and dreams.

The photography program serves upper elementary students who need to further develop written expression skills. Children participate in rotating small groups.

Each school year, our program evolves. To date, the students have utilized 35mm film cameras, and have taken part in a culminating darkroom experience. This year, it would be wonderful to introduce the children to digital photography. The Olympus Classroom Grant would make this goal possible.

Five Olympus D-545 cameras would suit the small group instructional design of the Literacy through Photography program. The Digital Camera Basics workbooks would be an excellent resource for the students as they acquire technical competence with the digital equipment. The Tool Factory Workshop would engage the students visually and verbally.

The children could use Tool Factory Painter to create special effects with their original images. Tool Factory Word Processor would enable the students to embed digital photographs into their compositions. Last year, participating students' photographs and accompanying writings were formatted and bound into hard cover books by school staff. The Tool Factory Workshop would allow students to design their own book pages, and thereby give them more ownership of the final published product. The built in voice engine feature of this software would meet the needs of our students with reading disabilities who are fully included in the activities.
Links: Link to Literacy through Photography
Materials: Word Processor, Batteries, Point and Shoot
Other Items: 4 Pack CR-V3 Lithium Batteries, $25 each, total of $100.00
2 D-545 Camera, $200 each, total of $400.00