Pictures and Words: Which Is Which?

Use a School Readiness Activity to provide early literacy thinking experiences for preschool children that will prepare them to do well in the early grades.
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Teaching Strategies:

Pictures and Words: Which Is Which?

Please Note: this material was created for use in a classroom, but can be easily modified for homeschooling use.


  • To understand what letters and words look like
  • To distinguish words from objects and pictures
  • To recognize words as units of print

About six small objects to label; six pictures; paper, markers, children's book


Literature Suggestion
Read any simple book with pictures and labels.

Introduce the game "Which Is Which?" Display two objects and say their names (without pointing to them). Ask: Which is which? Example: Here are a hat and a book. Which is which? Invite children to take turns identifying the items by name. To avoid confusion, you may want to avoid showing two objects that rhyme or begin with the same letter.


  • Play "Which Is Which?" using objects and pictures. Example: Here are a glass and a picture of a glass. Which is the glass and which is the picture of the glass?
  • After a few rounds, introduce words as well as objects. You may wish to write the words as you display the objects. For example, display a doll and write the word doll on a piece of paper. Display the word and the doll. Then say: I see a doll and the word doll. Which is which?
Label the children's cubbies with their pictures and names. Ask children to tell you which is the picture and which is the name.

Observation Assessment

  • Proficient - Child can readily distinguish between objects, pictures, and words.
  • In Process - Child can identify objects and pictures, but has difficulty identifying words.
  • Not Yet Ready - Child does not yet understand the concept of words and may ignore requests to identify or point to words.
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