Children who draw before they tackle writing tasks produce better writing – it’s longer, more syntactically sophisticated and has a greater variety of vocabulary. It is likely this is because the act of drawing concentrates the mind on the topic at hand, and provides an avenue for rehearsal before writing – rather like a first draft where they can sort things out before having to commit words to a page. … As a first draft, drawings are much easier to erase, to add to, and to rearrange. They provide a common reference point for the teacher and the child to discuss the story before it is written, and this is an important additional oral rehearsal that strengthens the quality of the writing. Ideas are clarified and vocabulary strengthened. The message to teachers is a simple one – instead of telling children they can draw a picture if they finish their writing, have them draw before writing.