An E-Learning Literacy Website
Utilizing Writing & Photography

Frequently Asked Questions


What is is an e-learning website that utilizes photography and word banks (keywords) to improve literacy skills via writing. It is a teaching tool and student learning platform that not only develops writing but helps to improve reading skills as well. With an emphasis on visual learning, the user is engaged by doing. The proprietary site is a vehicle for creativity, fun, and learning that lasts. It is also interactive and a social medium for people of all ages globally.

What is a PicLit?

A “PicLit” is a combination of words placed on an image to capture the essence, story, and meaning of the picture. It can be a caption, a sentence, a story, a paragraph, a poem, a rap, a quotation, lyrics from a song, and more. You can create a PicLit using Drag-n-Drop keywords or Freestyle. For more tips, check out our Help section.

What is "edutainment" and why does literacy matter?

Edutainment is the act of learning through a medium that both educates and entertains. In this definition, learning is the key.

From The Learning Lab in Boise, Idaho...
* Every person should have the opportunity to learn to read and write, because every person matters.
* Literacy empowers people—to believe in themselves, become involved in their children's schools, become more productive employees and be engaged in our whole community.
* Literacy strengthens resolve and resilience, so people can see brighter futures even in hard times or when living in poverty. Bottom line: Literacy creates opportunities.
* Every child deserves to be ready to succeed in school and the best predictor of that potential is one’s ability to read and write.
* 43% of people with the lowest literacy skills live in poverty.

Who are we?

We are a small team of educators who are passionate about making teachers' lives easier while providing tools to help them do their jobs better. We believe that literacy begins with writing and reading and applies to people of all ages across the world. At we envision a world of opportunity that is enhanced and obtainable via basic literacy skills. We are focused on WRITING, “writing to read” as we say, via the use of photography and words to stimulate learning. Without developing these basic literacy skills, the likelihood of overcoming life’s obstacles is diminished. We are an interactive “edutainment” site that engages users of all ages to help make writing and reading readily attainable skills. We are involved, engaged, and always accessible. was granted a U.S. Patent on Feb 22, 2005 (U.S. PATENT # 6,859,211).


What are some different types of PicLits?

You can use PicLits to create all sorts of writing samples…here are just a few:

Simple sentences Poems Poetic devices:
Complex sentences Ballads Palindromes
Compound sentences Letters Personification
Dialogues Postcards Metaphor/simile
Captions Song lyrics Alliteration
Questions/answers Raps Free verse
Quotations Haikus Rhymes
(people/books/movies/plays/etc) Couplets Hyperbole
Paragraphs Limericks
Journal entries Word association
Classroom assignments Foreign languages
Narratives/short stories
Informational writing

Here are some video tutorials to give you ideas for using the site:

1) PicLits on YouTube by Cate Beck...
Create poetry or short writing samples based on evocative pictures (4:40 min)

2) PicLits on YouTube by Colleen Kluber...
Create writing projects such as poems, stories, sentences, etc (4:45 min)

3) PicLits by ESL Class at Ashbel Elementary School (2 min)

4) PicLits on YouTube by Sarah Galbreath...
Help your students practice writing sentences (2:25 min)

5) PicLits on YouTube by Lisa Lund...
Support Common Core Standards in your classroom (2:21 min)

6) PicLits on YouTube by Jessica Pilgreen...
How to use PicLits in the classroom (9:03 min)

What are some ideas for using the site?

Below are some links and user reviews about fun ways to use the site on your own or in the classroom:

iLearn Technology Blog
Tech Tuesday Blog
Vancouver Island School Tech Blog
TechnoStories Blog
Jackson County School Tech Blog

Why use PicLits?

Take a quick look at our fun one-pager to see why the site is so much fun and everyone should be using it! And check out these Helpful Hints from one of our favorite blogs.

Is PicLits safe for kids to use?

Yes! The site is safe and secure and proprietary. The images have all been chosen by our photo editor to be appropriate for all ages and demographics. We do not share our users’ email addresses with third parties.

Is there a Premium version of PicLits?

For the next stage of the site, we plan to offer a Premium version with features such as Search, Tagging, Spanish Keywords, and more, along with teacher accounts, private groups, photo uploading, editing tools, multiple languages, and other great elements. It’s all very exciting!

How do you write with PIC-LITS?

If you need inspiration for creating your PIC-LIT, you can use the DRAG-N-DROP customized keywords underneath the photo.

  • To create your PIC-LIT, hold your cursor over any keyword or universal word.
  • Click and hold to select the word.
  • Drag the word to where you want it to be on the photo.
  • Unclick to place the word.
  • Once a word is placed on the photo, you may select capitalization and conjugation options from the DROP-DOWN arrow.
  • If you change your mind about a word, you can just drag-n-drop it back into the keyword list.
  • A keyword may only be used once in a PIC-LIT. Universal words and punctuation may be used multiple times.
  • If you want to erase all the words and start over, simply click on “New PIC-LIT” on the right-hand side.
  • When you are satisfied with your PIC-LIT, click on the “Save” icon to save it to your account and have it appear in the Gallery. You can also email your PIC-LIT to a friend or post it to your Facebook profile. In order to save or post a PIC-LIT, it must have words on it and you must be a registered user. You can write without being registered.

Can I save a PicLit as a draft?

If you are writing a PicLit and need to stop or pause, you can save it to MY PICLITS as a draft (with both Freestyle & D-N-D). You can still save and publish your completed PicLit to the Gallery ("Save/Publish" link) and now you can also save a Draft in your account ("Save as Draft" link). When you go to MY PICLITS you can click on your unfinished PicLit and then go to EDIT to complete it.

Can I upload my own images and words to PicLits?

Not at this time. We hope to include this functionality in a future phase of the site.

Can I use PicLits on my iPad or smartphone?

Yes! The site works on all of your mobile devices and also can be used in the classroom with SMART Boards (whiteboards), on overhead projectors, and in computer labs. If you are having trouble, please Contact Us.

How do I share my PicLits?

Once you’ve written a PicLit, you can share it with your friends via email, Facebook, or on your blog. Just click on one of the options on the screen after saving your work and follow the easy steps.

How do I view all the photos on

1. The photo of the DAY changes daily.
2. The carousel is random and changes when you refresh the home page.
3. The ‘SEE MORE” tab on the right below the carousel has 30 photos that also change.
4. At this time, the only way to see all images (approx. 700) is by going to "Explore the Gallery" and clicking on "By picture" under the EXPLORE header to see SIX at a time. The pictures appear in order of the most popular/used. Click "Next page" to see the next six.

How do I print a PicLit?

Our printing capabilities are not yet fully developed; we hope to implement this step in our next phase. In the meantime, you can easily take a screenshot of your work (Google it if you don’t know how!) and then crop it in an image editing program. Thanks for your patience while we work on bringing you this fun new feature!

What technology does use?

The site is written using five different technologies: SQL for the database, C# and ASP.NET for the web server portion, and HTML and JavaScript for the web browser portion.


Why are there ads on PicLits?

Currently, our site’s only source of revenue is through the banner ads from Google AdSense that appear at the side. We screen and monitor these ads very closely for appropriate content. If you notice anything inappropriate, please Contact Us and we will take care of it immediately.

Where do the photographs and keywords on PicLits come from?

Our photo editor selects images that are appropriate for all of our users from a variety of different stock photography companies and independent photographers. We negotiate specific terms of use based on placing words on the images and using those photo/word combinations (aka PicLits!) for personal or educational use only. The keyword lists are written by our staff wordsmiths.

Does PicLits have a Facebook page or a Twitter feed?

Yes! And we’d love for you to follow us. Our Facebook page features sample PicLits and noteworthy creations by some of our users, teacher feedback about the site, and articles about education and technology. And check out our fun links and Twitter comments @piclits too!

How can I contact someone at PicLits?

Please fill out the Contact Us form on the site if you have any questions or problems or suggestions or feedback…or even if you just want to say hello! We promise to do our best to get back to you right away.

How do I report abuse on PicLits?

We do our very best to make sure that PicLits delivers only the finest and most appropriate content for our users. If you notice anything out of line before we do, please feel free to let us know by using our Contact Us form and we will fix it right away.

How can I keep my PicLits private?

We are currently working on a Premium version of the PicLits site (see the FAQ in the About PicLits section), which will include the capability to hide your PicLits from other users and keep them private or only share them with certain people, should you wish to do so. Right now and until we have that feature ready, any work you save will appear in the Gallery for other users to see, so please keep that in mind when you are creating PicLits!


How do I register for a PicLits account?

It’s simple! All you need is an email address to create a user profile on the site and start writing PicLits. Sign up, create a pen name and a password and you are all set.

What if I don't have an e-mail address?

You need to have a working email account in order to sign up and use the site. This is the only way we can keep track of our users, keep providing it to you free of charge, and send you important information about the site.

Some of my students don’t have email accounts…how can I create a classroom/group account on PicLits?

Some of our users who are educators have used Gmail linked/sub accounts to manage their student’s profiles on the site so kids don’t have to be involved in the process or have their own emails. Below are some links with more explanation:

How can I remove my account from PicLits?

If you would like to delete your user account from the site, please use the Contact Us form to send us an email and we can help deactivate your account and remove all your work and information from the system.

How can I reset my password for PicLits?

If you are having trouble remembering your password for the site and the Forgot Password link is not working, please Contact Us and we can help you regain access to your account via email.