Using Comics to Engage Students in Reading and Writing (Virtual Tour)
Stage of Literacy Development:
Stage 3: Literacy for Growth
Primary: Text Structures & Genres
For this activity I actually decided to bring the comics into the classroom. It actually started off by getting my students to read at home, and I said "how many of you all read the newspaper?" And they were like "hmmm". I said "the newspaper has so many interesting things in it," I said "what about the comics". And I started mentioning some of the comics that were in the newspaper, they were not familiar with comics in the newspaper.
So I brought some in. First I put it in my library, and it was on the magazine rack, and they absolutely loved the comics. So I said that worked for reading, let me try it for writing. So I said "what is a comic?" And they said "something that's funny and it makes you laugh." I said, "and you know when you read something and it makes you laugh you can also write something and it also makes you laugh."
I brought in journal writings then, and I decided to get them to write something, just a silly or funny story. So every month they wrote a silly or funny story. It was all dealing with the comics. For Thanksgiving it was a silly Thanksgiving story. For Christmas it may have been a silly Christmas story, same for Valentine's day.
Here, it was a Halloween story. And I actually gave them a prompt for this one. The prompt for this one was, what would happen if you came to school on Monday morning and there were bats all over your school? And that was their prompt, I said "what would you do, what would the teachers do, how would you react?" And so I sent them back to their seats and they just began to write. There are actually some really, really funny stories up here, but I noticed that it brought out a lot of their character, a lot of their personalities, which I don't see in their regular writing. I don't get a chance to see that in their anchor writing. But comics are interesting.
They're fourth graders. Fourth grades like funny, silly things, and they were able to be as silly as they wanted to, so I noticed a lot of personality in their writings, and I thought that bringing the comics in was a great way to get them to start to free write and express themselves in a different way.
The goal of Comical Writing: Using Comics to Engage Students in Reading and Writing (Virtual Tour) is to help students develop an understanding of the purpose, audience, and message of different kinds of text by exploring and writing comics.
- Using comics to teach reading and writing is a fun and engaging activity, particularly when using comics that include age-appropriate humor.
- The Internet offers many programs for students to create their own comics. Integrating technology into your literacy program fosters a motivation for literacy, is very engaging and offers a meaningful alternative to pencil and paper tasks.
- Comics provide an engaging opportunity to review dialogue and quotation marks.