Using Picture Books to Teach Writing Styles

I {heart} picture books for so many reasons.  One giant reason is their ability to teach so many in depth concepts in such non-intimidating ways that students often don’t see fear in the lessons that follow.  One such example is writing.

I can’t tell you the times I’ve been asked by homeschooling parents to tutor their children in writing or teach a writing class or point them to the perfect writing curriculum.  It seems as if writing is one of the big, scary monsters of homeschooling.  But it doesn’t have to be hard!

You have masters of writing at your fingertips every single day who can help guide much of the writing instruction in your home.  These masters are the authors of really good living literature!

Picture books are great tools to teach writing styles! Great lesson ideas here!

Over the last several months, I’ve been sharing ideas to help you learn how to use living literature – picture books specifically – to teach various writing styles to your middle and high school students.  In those posts, you can read much about my reasoning for using picture books in the upper grade levels.  Suffice it to say for now that if the goal is teaching good writing, you want writing lessons that are manageable and picture books provide wonderful examples of writing styles within a reasonable time frame.

I just know you’re going to enjoy these lesson ideas – and I think your children really will too!  As I write new posts on this topic, I’ll add them here.  You may want to pin this post so you can check in for new lesson ideas.

Using Picture Books to Teach Writing: The Posts

NarrativePersuasiveBiographyExpositoryVoiceLiterary techniquesText Structure


Using Picture Books To Teach Writing: The Training

If you need a little extra help to understand how to use picture books to help your children learn to write well in various styles, I put together a video training for you! In the 90-minute video, I walk you through several examples of picture books as mentors and how to practically add them to your schedule.


  1. Hi, Cindy!
    I have followed you for years and really appreciate all you do! Your blog has educated me in so many ways.

    I’m wanting to use your picture book method to teach my middle schooler writing. I hope this doesn’t seem like a ridiculous question, but I’m just wondering where you would recommend starting. Literary technique?

    Thanks so much!

  2. Emily, it warms my heart to know you’ve found some useful things here! 🙂

    Not a ridiculous question at all! You can certainly begin teaching whatever you like first, but I tend to find narratives the easiest for children to understand. Then, I typically move right in to biographies or persuasive writing. Once my children have a little experience with each of these, I’ll go through a few lessons in literary techniques and text structure so they begin learning how to spice up their writings a bit.

    I like them to have the basics of each type of writing down before adding in the spice. It’s fun to watch each subsequent narrative/biography/persuasive writing get SO much better after the literary techniques and text structure is introduced!

  3. Bernadette M. Green says:

    I would love to try this with my 8th grade class. This may sound dumb but how would you model this? I’m thinking about gradual release before they actually y apply the skill on their own. I’m trying to figure out what the best way is to roll it out for the first time.

  4. Bernadette, if you’ll click on one of the images for the writing style you’d like to teach, you should find the information you’re looking for. 🙂

  5. I love picture books and I struggle with teaching writing to my homeschoolers. I am hoping this will be a WIN WIN! I will get to read picture books and check the box of writing (in a fun way!). I plan to use this with my 1 middle schooler and 2 high schoolers. How do you do high school credit/grades with this kind of curriculum? Any ideas? Thank you!

  6. Sarah, as long as your high schoolers are working on writing, you can count it toward an English credit. That’s not just the physical act of writing, but anything having to do with it – like research, reading, brainstorming, editing, etc. Have fun!

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