The Power of Pictures

Yijing Li - Headshot

What is the Power of Pictures?
CLPE’s Power of Pictures programme and resources support teachers in developing an understanding of the importance of visual literacy in developing readers, the importance of illustration as a way of developing writing and the craft of picture book creation to develop children’s engagement and attainment in literacy. It was originally devised by CLPE’s Charlotte Hacking and author/illustrator and CLPE Patron, Ed Vere in 2013.

We are delighted to announce that CLPE won the Teach Primary Award in Best CPD 2022 for our Power of Pictures Training Programme and Resources. 

Training to develop teacher subject knowledge on how to choose and use picturebooks to develop talk, comprehension and creative writing:

We run a highly acclaimed two and a half day, Power of Pictures training course where teachers work with an author/illustrator and a CLPE teacher to understand the process of writing and the relationship between picture and text. With gap tasks that support teachers to embed this process in their classrooms and schools, this course supports teachers to become knowledgeable teachers of writing and to inspire and deepen children’s creative writing. The next course will begin on 25 April 2024 alongside renowned illustrator/author Yijing Li whose debut book, Through The Forest, was published in Spring 2022 and won the Merit Award in the 9th Hiii Illustration International Competition, as well as being long listed for the 2023 Klaus Flugge Prize. 


Find out more about the training and book a place on the next Power of Pictures training course

Free teaching sequences and video content to support children's engagement with reading, illustration and creative writing:

The Power of Pictures teaching sequences illustrate how to read picturebooks in the classroom, exploring how words and illustrations combine to tell a story and to share the creative processes a published writer goes through to create a narrative in words and pictures. Each book on the programme has three teaching sequences to show you how this process can be differentiated to use across a school, from EYFS to Year 6, creating a community of readers and writers reading, illustrating and writing together. 

Each sequence guides you through a book study and a clear model for the teaching of writing. This model supports children to be independent writers in a way that is built around the real processes of practicing writers. The sequences are supported by video materials that introduce children to an author/illustrator and their focus book, show the illustrator modelling how to draw a key character and share how they wrote and illustrated their book.

The activities lead children from ideation before beginning writing, through providing opportunities for reading, thinking, discussing, drawing and note making before embarking on the creation of a text.  Plenty of opportunity is built in for genuine reflection and feedback on the content of the writing before the piece is finally published as an authentic picturebook.

Explore all the books that are part of the Power of Pictures programme and access teaching sequences and video resources

The impact of the Power of Pictures: 

We have been researching the effectiveness of the Power of Pictures through independent evaluation and randomised control trial since 2014.

The key findings of the Power of Pictures research are:

  • Children who are given opportunities to read and respond to picturebooks learn about sophisticated narrative structure, plot and character development in an accessible way.
  • Children benefit from the opportunities, time and space to form their ideas prior to and during writing.
  • When children are given opportunities to draw as part of the writing process this helps them to formulate, develop and extend ideas for writing; making their independent, self-initiated writing richer.
  • A focus on reading illustration helps to develop children’s deeper comprehension skills, allowing them additional opportunities to infer, deduce, think critically and empathise.
  • Writing is a creative process and rough and draft work are essential to producing quality outcomes.
  • When the teaching of creative writing mirrors the process used by professional writers children can produce extended and independent writing beyond a level they currently experience.

In 2022, Charlotte Hacking was awarded the Anna Craft Creativities in Education Prize for her work on The Power of Pictures.

The most surprising thing is that it has given our children a voice and a language. The developing understanding of how picturebooks work and how illustrators actively make decisions has led to children digging much more deeply into the story. The increasing understanding that the illustrator is an author has led to in-depth discussions around authorial intent. Pupils increased confidence in expressing understanding and a willingness to challenge ideas has impacted in ways we did not imagine. They have an increasing vocabulary and language to share their ideas.

Simon Smith, Headteacher, East Whitby Primary Academy

Join us for our next Power of Pictures training - find out more.

Read the full report from the RSA/EEF here.

Read CLPE's evaluation of the six years of Power of Pictures here.