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Research shows art and picture books have a direct and positive impact on children's literacy


The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE)'s Power of Pictures interim research finds that giving children the opportunity to explore their creativity through art and supporting them to learn through picturebooks, has a direct and positive impact on children’s literacy.

The research findings, published 14 June 2019, are the result of a six-year research project drawn from the charity’s participation in a wider report commissioned by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).

The key findings of the CLPE’s research are:

• Children who are given opportunities to read and respond to picturebooks throughout their primary years 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.

At the launch of the report Charlotte Hacking, who devised the Power of Pictures scheme in 2013 along with multi-award-winning author Ed Vere, said: 'In this increasingly visual world, the skill of analysing and interpreting images is even more essential for children – picturebooks are such an important tool for teaching these skills at an early age and benefitting children’s understanding in a wider context, for example when reading news stories, learning about cultural events or even when using social media.'

Lauren Child, outgoing Children's Laureate added: 'I have put nurturing creativity at the centre of my aspirations for my time as Waterstones Children’s Laureate, as well as highlighting the importance of visual literacy and the value and significance of illustration as an art form. Picture books at their best are philosophical, artistic and highly personal.'

A full, final report from CLPE will be published in the Autumn of 2019 and the results of all the trials will be published by the RSA and the EEF in 2020/2021.

Read more and download the Power of Pictures report here

14 Jun 2019