Power of Pictures

Power of Pictures (PoP) is a children’s reading and writing programme provided to English schools by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE).

The version of PoP evaluated in this trial aims to raise children’s (Year 5 pupils’) reading and writing skills by enhancing teachers’ understanding of the power of picturebooks and increasing teachers’ comfort and ability in teaching using picturebooks.

PoP comprises of teacher training delivered directly from the author-illustrator of a picturebook that will be taught in schools. Pupils also meet PoP programme deliverers and the author-illustrator of the picturebook that they will be studying during a half day workshop, focussing on character design and the development of narratives. Teachers then support pupils to develop their own picturebook stories, inspired by the workshop.

accessibility

Key Stage 2

Key stage

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English

Subject

EEF Summary

This evaluation is part of a round of funding between the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and the Royal Society of Arts to test the impact of different cultural learning strategies in English schools entitled ‘Learning about Culture’. These projects have been independently evaluated by a collaboration between the UCL Institute of Education and the Behavioural Insights Team who have also produced an overarching report to draw together learning from all five trials within the round.

A previous research report on Power of Pictures examined the programme through course observations, surveys of participating teachers, a review of materials, and interviews with author-illustrators. This study found that teachers and author-illustrators perceived the programme as have lasting effects on pupils. This evaluation is the first randomised controlled trial (RCT) evaluating the effectiveness of the programme in improving writing skills, writing self-efficacy and writing creativity (ideation), as well as exploring the level at which pupils and teachers engaged with the programme.

Our trial of the Power of Picture programme involved 2,674 pupils in 101 schools. The independent evaluation found that pupils taking part in the PoP programme made, on average, one months’ additional progress in writing ability (the primary outcome), compared to children in the usual practice control group. These results have a moderate security rating: 3 out of 5 on the EEF padlock scale. However, as with any study, there is uncertainty around the result: the possible impact of this programme on reading attainment ranges from one month less progress to positive effects of three additional months of progress.

The evaluation found that the programme had a positive effect on children’s writing self-efficacy and writing creativity. The visual element of the programme was also seen to attract learners who may have traditionally struggled to engage with literacy activities.

The EEF currently has no plans for a further trial of the Power of Pictures Programme.

Research Results

Writing score (all pupils)

+1
Months' Progress
Evidence Strength

Writing score (FSM pupils)

+1
Months' Progress
Evidence Strength

Were the schools in the trial similar to my school?

  • There were 101 schools involved in the trial.
  • Schools with larger populations of individuals receiving free school meals than the national average were targeted for recruitment.
  • Participating schools were also required to be English state-funded primary schools recruited from the following regions: London, North East England, and East Sussex.

Could I implement this in my school?

  • The PoP programme requires schools to provide children with artistic resources (e.g., colouring pencils, watercolour paints, acrylic paints, collage materials, tracing paper and publication paper).
  • Schools implementing PoP are required to make changes to their curriculum, as the programme needs at least four weeks (equal to 20 lessons over 2 terms) of English lessons to be delivered. Those teaching the programme highlighted the importance of providing guidance to schools and senior leaders on how the programme can be delivered whilst also meeting national curriculum requirements (e.g., spelling, punctuation, and grammar).
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Teachers

Delivered by

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Whole Class

Participant group

date_range

2 Terms

Intervention length

How much will it cost?

The PoP programme costs schools approximately £352 per year as delivered in the trial, and most costs are realised in the first year, such as the purchasing of materials, books, and art supplies. When delivered to 25 pupils (the number of pupils receiving PoP in this trial) per year over the course of three years, the PoP programme therefore costs schools £5 per pupil per year.

£

£5

Cost per pupil

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1

No. of Teachers/TAs

today

2 Days

Training time per staff member

Evaluation info

Schools

101

Pupils

2674

Key Stage

Key Stage 2

Start date

May 2017

End date

December 2019

Type of trial

Efficacy Trial

Evaluation Conclusions

  1. Pupils who received the Power of Pictures (PoP) programme had, on average, higher writing scores (equivalent to one month of additional progress) as compared to children in the control group. This is our best estimate of impact which has a moderate to high security rating. However, as with any study, there is uncertainty around the result: the possible impact of this programme on reading attainment ranges from one month less progress to positive effects of three additional months of progress.

  2. Among children eligible for free school meals (FSM), those in schools that PoP was delivered in also made one additional month’s progress. These results may have a lower security rating than the overall findings because of the smaller number of pupils in this group.

  3. Children in PoP schools had higher writing self-efficacy and writing creativity (ideation) scores than those from schools in which the programme was not taught. These differences suggest that PoP may have a positive impact on these outcomes.

  4. The visual element of this programme attracted learners who traditionally have difficulties engaging in literacy activities.

  5. Teachers reported high levels of engagement with the programme, not only from the pupils and themselves, but also from the senior leadership team (SLT) at their schools. This said, implementing PoP was perceived to be very time intensive.


  1. Updated: 8th September, 2021

    Printable project summary

    1 MB pdf - EEF-power-of-pictures.pdf

  2. Updated: 24th May, 2018

    Evaluation Protocol

    758 KB pdf - Power_of_Pictures_evaluation_protocol.pdf

  3. Updated: 3rd December, 2018

    Statistical Analysis Plan

    771 KB pdf - PoP_SAP_(final).pdf

  4. Updated: 17th April, 2019

    PoP_Evaluation_Protocol_(amended)

    884 KB pdf

  5. Updated: 7th September, 2021

    Power of Picture - Final report

    3 MB pdf - Power_of_Pictures_Evaluation_Report_Final.pdf

Full project description

Power of Pictures (PoP) is a programme that aims to raise children’s reading and writing skills by enhancing teachers’ understanding of the power of picturebooks and increasing teachers’ comfort and ability in teaching using picturebooks. PoP is provided to English schools by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (PE).

PoP comprises of teacher training delivered directly from the author-illustrator of a picturebook that will be taught in schools. Pupils also meet PoP programme deliverers and the author-illustrator of the picturebook that they will study during a half day workshop, focusing on character design and the development of narratives. Teachers then support pupils to develop their own picturebook stories, inspired by the workshop. Schools taking part in the programme are required to commit at least four weeks of their English curriculum to PoP (equal to 20 lessons over two terms).