Pen Pictures - overview

Pen Pictures - books 1-3

Pictures are great for writing, because they provide lots of content, but leave it up to the students to express it in words. When we wrote Pen Pictures, there were a few books of picture stories for writing available, but they were very dated, having something of a post-war flavour. And they were mainly for narrative, under-representing other forms. So Pen Pictures sets out to provide a colourful, motivating, picture based series of lessons which will develop young learners' writing skills in a balanced and sustainable way. See also the article on this topic, and the talk.

Look inside: 

Pen Pictures 1

Pen Pictures 1

In Pen Pictures 1, pupils are given attractive visuals to fire their imagination and support them in writing a variety of different texts. These include writing a dialogue, a poem, a notice, an advert, a postcard and a short composition.

Pen Pictures 2

Pen Pictures: Volume 2

In Pen Pictures 2, pupils use various picture types to help them write a range of different texts, including letters to friends and short stories.

Pen Pictures 3

Pen Pictures: Volume 3

In Pen Pictures 3, pupils are encouraged to add their voice to what they write. They present opinions and make complaints, and begin to look at formal and informal language.

Pen Pictures Teacher's Books

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Each level of Pen Pictures is accompanied by a Teacher's Book which provides detailed teaching notes, answey keys, ideas for mixed ability classes, suggestions for follow-up activities and photocopiable tests.

Sample review: 

Pen Pictures

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This series is very good for getting kids writing. They find the warm-up exercises interesting and they are well graded to lead towards the actual writing. There is also a good exercise on checking your own writing and correcting for the pupils to do which they love. Colourful and fun. Good value.



Hello, My name is Annie Varis and I am an EFL teacher in Greece. I would like to order the above books in Greece but they keep telling me that they are out of stock.I find these books so useful in teaching children writing skills. Are you still publishing these great books and if so where can I order them in Greece. Thank you for your time and help. Annie Varis
Mark Hancock's picture

Hi Annie, Thank you very much for your interest in our beloved Pen Pictures books. It does appear that the publisher, Oxford University Press, has discontinued this series. I don't think that there's anything we can do to help. I'm really sorry about that! I hope you find a suitable alternative! Best wishes Mark & Annie

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