Completing Your Copy with Captions and Headlines

By Renee Burke, MJE

Captions and headlines will be the most-read copy in your yearbook, so they deserve proper attention. Help students learn how to write captions and headlines that grab the reader’s eye and keep them on the page.


Before anyone reads your well-crafted story on a yearbook spread, their eyes will be drawn to your headline and captions.

Photos will draw their attention first, so it’s automatic that people will read the accompanying captions to learn more about the people and what they are doing. Cleverly written and well-designed headlines will attract readers to a spread almost as much as the dominant photo.

You may hear that students don’t read the copy in the yearbook. They will if you begin writing enticing headlines and informative captions. Improving your copy in these two areas will lead readers to want to learn more from the story.

Your journey to writing great caption and headline copy that readers will enjoy starts now. In this unit you will learn to:

  • Write great captions using the ABCD formula
  • Write intriguing headlines that are vivid and descriptive while staying factual

Renee Burke, MJE

Renee Burke, NBCT, MJE, is yearbook and newspaper adviser at William R. Boone High School in Orlando, Fla. Renee is the 2012 Orange County Public Schools Teacher of the Year, 2011 Florida Scholastic Press Association Journalism Teacher of the Year, and a 2011 Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) Gold Key recipient. She also teaches national yearbook workshops and coordinates the Camp Orlando summer workshop for yearbooks and newspapers. Both publications have earned CSPA Crown awards and been a National Scholastic Press Association Pacemaker Finalist; the 2014 yearbook earned a CSPA Gold Crown and a Pacemaker.