At a young age, I was interested in comic books, which was really how I learnt to read. - Nicolas Cage
Comics can be powerful learning tools. The mix of art, dialogue, character expressions, and frames engages learners and is brain-friendly. Comics break down a story’s plot and text into bite-sized chunks. Each frame has a visual of the action, which is much easier for the brain to process than reading a large amount of text. Additionally, comics are an effective way to introduce your learners to digital storytelling. Many of the comic creation tools are easy to use and allow learners to choose from a library of characters, props, scenes, and templates. Your learners will be able to quickly create a story, view it, and share it. Creating comics engages students and encourages them to explore vocabulary, summarize information, and contextualize what they learn in a creative way. Download the slides and bookmark the following tips and resources.
The following are a few ideas to get you started using comics with your learners. Watch the recording of my webinar on this topic here!
- Choose comics or graphic novels as reading materials. Many classics and popular books, like Twilight and Pride and Prejudice, are available as graphic novels.
- Use comics as writing prompts- Makebeliefscomix.com has over 350+ free printables to use as writing prompts
Students can do the following with their comics:
- Retell a historical event
- Write dialogues
- Summarize readings
- Create the setting and situation appropriate for idioms and phrases
- Post an interview
- Explore societal issues
- Explore the language in jokes
- Explore political issues
- Introduce themselves to their peers
- Show how to accomplish a goal
- Explore the meaning behind quotes
- Give visual instructions- Howtoons.com is full of great instructional comics
- Highlight the rules
- Create a context for math word problems
- Tell the news
- Explore various deﬁnitions of a word
- Visualize research
Favorite Comic Creators
- Make Beliefs Comix– Web site to create comics and an iPad app. Create two, three and four panel comics in multiple languages. Also find 350+ free printables for teachers.
- Play Comic– A web site in both Spanish and English to walk you through learning with comic games and a creator.
- ToonDoo – The site allows students to share their comics, comment on other comics, and even save and edit a copy of a comic.
- Comics Head– iOS and Android app to make comics. Students add their own images or can choose from their library of characters, backdrops, and speech bubbles. Students can draw in the comic. With the paid version, students record their voice for each panel.
- Friendstrip– iOS and Android app to make comics. Frames set and students can fill in the story.
- Pixton– on the web and an iOS and Android app to create comics. Has a library of characters, frames, and backgrounds.
- Book Creator– iOS and Android app to create digital books, including comic books.
- Creaza– Create comics, make movies, edit audio, and more! Embed in a blog or wiki.
- Bubblr– Create your comic strip with Flickr pictures and add bubbles to tell your story!
- Bitstrips– Free to create comics with friends and on Facebook. Offers a 30-day free trial for the education version.
- Marvel– Create comic strips and books with Marvel characters.
- Write Comics– Simple comic creation tool.
- Witty Comics- Great for political cartoons. Simple and easy to use. No registration required.
- Garfield– You can create comic strips or books with Garfield characters.
- Phrase It– Add speech bubbles to pictures.
- StoryBoardThat– Create comics or storyboards.