January 22, 2013 / Copywriting / Coverage

Teach caption writing with video, lesson plan

Written by Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Pictures are worth a thousand words, but the stories within them are incomplete without captions.

Captions are easier to write once you know the formula, and yearbook advisers are telling us they would like more training materials for their staffs on topics such as caption writing. Walsworth is listening, and has responded with a caption-writing lesson, complete with a new video called “A Simple Approach to Great Captions,” Lesson Overview, one pre-video activity, two post-video assignments and three handouts you can access at the links below on this page.

Renee Burke, yearbook adviser at Boone High School in Orlando, Fla., wrote the script and is the presenter in the video. She said caption writing was a good choice for a video and lesson plan because captions are important in yearbooks.

“I personally get so annoyed when I am reading a yearbook, or even a magazine, and there isn’t a caption for a picture. I want to know details,” Burke said.


The objectives for the lesson plan include students learning the parts of a good caption and how to write them to identify people, be accurate and informative.

Burke also said caption writing is easier to approach because it’s a group of smaller pieces instead of a multi-paragraph article.

“Body copy can be intimidating. Oftentimes people don’t know where to start or they feel like they’ve said the same thing year after year. Also, small schools feel that since they have a small book it’s hard to give up space for body copy,” Burke said.

“I see such value in captions and feel staffs can overlook their importance,” Burke said.

All the activities, assignments, handouts and a Lesson Overview that you can use with the video are available at these links.

Overview –

Lesson Overview

Exercises –

Bell Ringer Exercise

Caption Writing Exercise.5Ws.1H

Caption Writing Exercise.TellmeMore

Handouts –

Caption checklist

Easy as ABCD

Writing Captions with Flair


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Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Elizabeth Braden, CJE, is the former editor of Idea File magazine. Before retiring, she was a copywriter for Walsworth Yearbooks for more than 15 years, writing articles for various marketing materials, and proofreading copy for the Yearbook and Commercial divisions. Her career included reporting and editing for United Press International and editing for Knight-Ridder Financial News. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Media News from the University of Tulsa.