Teacher Testimonials

Interview with Master PW Teacher Susan O’Byrne, Part I:
Why I Stayed With Picturing Writing for 20 Years Despite Mounting Pressures

Interview with Master PW Teacher Susan O’Byrne, Part II:
There is More to It Than Making Crayon Resist Painting Before You Write

Picturing Writing and Image-Making have helped every type of learner in my classroom embrace the writing process. This multi-tiered approach provides innate scaffolding and differentiation, allowing students to access examples of rich mentor texts, strong vocabulary, and visuals through multiple modalities and at their own levels. The typically daunting task of creating a polished piece of writing is broken down into small, actionable steps. Students who had previously shut down or refused to participate in our writing sessions were engaged while previously motivated writers were inspired to dig deeper. All of my students were excited by the creation of their own art and tremendously proud of their written and visual works. Not only do these processes help support children with their writing skills, but in their capacity to tackle challenging tasks and produce work that they are proud of.

– Victoria Hanson,
Third grade teacher

Picturing Writing offers an approach that engages, balances, and integrates all the components of reading development, including comprehension (visualization, understanding story elements, encoding skills, vocabulary both oral language and written) with writing development. Having implemented other themes through Picturing Writing, I can state that I’ve had the privilege of seeing children who resist reading and writing begin to develop a strong sense of themselves as readers and writers.

– Rachel Kuklinski,
Reading Specialist

The Picturing Writing process is magical! Students are engaged, inspired, and motivated throughout each and every step! When the crayons and paints come out, there is joy and excitement for new experiences and techniques; students know that they will soon create a stunning picture that will teach as well as guide them through the writing process. It is fascinating to watch! Once the art is complete, I have been amazed at how the words just flow for my students; the pictures are alive! Making time for PW is a gift that should be shared with all children!

– Janice Packard,
First grade teacher

I have had great success using these methods with English Language Learners and other at-risk students. Engaging all learners, this visual approach promotes oral language skills and writing that flows from the pictures the students have painted with care and pride.

– Donna L. Garcia, Ph.D., Reading Specialist,
Instructor of Language, Literacy and Socio-Cultural Studies,
University of New Mexico

Picturing Writing has been one of the highlights of the first few months of school, not only for myself but also for my students. My class population consists of 8 students with Individualized Education Plans in Special Education and 6 students remaining in the general education classroom all day. To say that I was hesitant to roll out the Picturing Writing unit is an understatement. I was nervous they weren’t going to be able to do the writing part as I have 3-4 students writing at the first/second grade level. I had no faith in my students. I still feel terrible that I ever doubted them because what they have been able to produce this trimester is absolutely incredible. Their descriptive language has blown me away.

– Kelly MacDonald, grade 4

This is my 27th year teaching. I originally took a weekend workshop during my 2nd year of teaching. I have to say that Picturing Writing and Image-Making have been the most impactful projects that I have done in my career. My students walk away with such special keepsakes. I started celebrating all of their published pieces about 15 years ago with an Author’s Tea Party at the end of the year. Parents and families come and the children share all they have accomplished. They are so proud!

– Kelly MacLean, grade 2

Every child, no matter his/her strengths, abilities or challenges, can be successful using Picturing Writing and Image-Making.

– Dr. Susan O’Connor,
Director of Curriculum & Instruction

My children viewed themselves as creators of important artistic work.

– Bette Stow-Cvetanovich,
Special Education teacher

Every writer can shine with this process. It enriches both the students who have a hard time with writing and the students who are already writers!

– Margaret Belowski,
7th grade ELA teacher

I finally found a reading and writing approach that works for our Yu’pik culture and language.

– Nita Reardon,
Itinerant Literacy Leader, AK

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