Picturing how to write essays

Image from 'Writing Essays by Pictures' showing the journey the reader goes on in an essay
Fig. 1: Take your reader on a journey

Do your students find it difficult to develop their essays? If so, Alke Groppel-Wegener’s ‘Writing Essays by Pictures’ may provide a helpful guide. She approaches what can appear to be a dry process in a creative and imaginative way. The book uses engaging visual metaphors and analogies to highlight the important aspects of academia. The writing process is broken down into steps, guiding the reader towards developing an evidence-based essay.

I would recommend this book to any student who feels daunted by writing essays. It helps divide the task into manageable chunks, enabling them to write a well researched, structured and referenced essay that engages critically with the topic they have to cover. Furthermore, it illustrates (Fig. 1) how to take a reader on a journey and the importance of guiding them clearly through your thought process.

Groppel-Wegener suggests two principal strategies in order to develop your academic writing that I wholeheartedly agree with:

  • Read more – this helps you to improve your grammar and spelling. In addition, in the academic context, you also get a feel for the style of academic writing.
  • Write a little, often. This is a common theme in the Academic Learning Support team workshops – it is helpful to break tasks down into smaller chunks. In that way, you can plan your time more effectively and gradually build the structure that will house your arguments.

The good news is that this book is available in the City Library so you can recommend it to students to help them write better essays.

Do you have any books on writing that you would recommend? If so, write a review and share them here on Learning at City.


Gröppel-Wegener, A. (2016) Writing essays by pictures: a workbook. Huddersfield: Innovative Libraries.


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