Pictures that teach

Nivedita Vijay Bedadur

This resource which is in the form of a letter can be used by teachers as a reading or textual material. The objectives of the resource are two-fold: to demonstrate that a letter can be both fun and a source of learning and to introduce grammatical information about gerunds and participles and how they work.

Aim: To identify the different functions of the present participle.

Dear Children,

Do you read the newspapers? Newspapers are a treasure trove of pictures, articles, advertisements which are a great source of fun-filled learning. Our ability to express ourselves with clarity and conviction is due in great measure to our hasty scanning of the newspaper. Newspapers are a source of pictures which are true, beautiful, expressive, and fun. Take a look at the picture. Let us now write a letter to our friend describing this picture.

Dear Amina,

I am so happy.
Q: Do you know why? I have been to visit my aunt. Guess where? I am sending you a picture to help you guess.
A: Yes you are right, the city of the Golden Temple and Jallianwalla Bagh. No, I am not going to give you a history lesson. I am going to take you through the bazaars of Amritsar.

Q: In this narrow street corner, which of the shops look most interesting?
A: Yes, the lassi vendors. The first question the autowallah asks me is whether I’ve had lassi. Even in this narrow street corner, there are two shops selling lassi. The lassi of Amritsar is very famous. Even a policeman is enjoying his glass of lassi. One look at his belly and you must conclude that this is due in great measure to the virtues of the lassi.

Q: Can you spot me standing in the street with my yellow shirt and blue jeans? What do you think I am doing? Let me give you a hint. Can you spot the Sardarji standing next to me with his scissors and his measuring tape?
A: Yes, I am getting myself measured for a suit of the best Pakistani cotton, beautifully light and soft. The tall Sardar stoops expertly to take measurements in the middle of the road, oblivious to honking scooters, wildly careening rickshaws and the general junta doing its own thing. The Wagah border is not too far away and though the politicians may fret and fume, the common man has been doing business with our neighbour for ages, in the friendliest manner.

So as you see this was a real fun trip. Do tell me where you had been last weekend.


The author has been an English language teacher, resource person and Principal in Kendriya Vidyalayas in the country and abroad. She is now a Specialist, Academics and Pedagogy in the University Resource Centre of the Azim Premji University. She can be reached at

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