Monday, December 11, 2017

The Funnies are Serious Business

How Comics Can Help with Reading and Writing Skills

It honestly didn’t really register with me that it counted as reading. That is before I had a son who only really wanted to read in short bursts – like how his brain operated for many things. Before I realized it he was hooked on comics, and I learned to appreciate the short, witty, and sometimes confusing world of comics and graphic novels. This child went from rolling his eyes towards the Heavens to having a favorite aisle in the library (all kids need favorite aisles in the library!).

Encouraging Reading Through Comics

In order to keep him reading, I helped him find every kind of comic book in the library, and we used graphic novels for deeper subjects. He also took a short comic writing class with his brothers and some friends. In the end, his heart belongs to old-school Garfield, but if you flash the comic section of a newspaper he will race to be the first to read that page (all kids should race to read something!). Researchers and educators have noticing the power of comics and reading as well.

  • Comics tend to be shorter and more manageable.
  • Comics are reliable – they use the same characters strip after strip.
  • Kids are more likely to read when the material is something they enjoy.
  • Graphic novels are drawing older reluctant readers into the joy of reading.

Encouraging Writing Through Comics

Then I also noticed a trend in my son’s writing – he began to be eager to write when he could write as a comic strip. If I would ask him to write anything else, it was usually met with moans and more rolling eyes to the Heavens. But if he can convey his thoughts in a comic strip – he gladly fills the page. So we write with comics – and he his spelling and punctuation have soared. When it comes to writing, comics offer lots of wonderful opportunities.

  • Kids learn how to write dialogue.
  • Kids learn how to formulate internal dialogue in the forms of thought bubbles.
  • Kids learn how to sequence their sentences and tell stories.
  • Kids can express themselves artistically as well, and the pressure is taken off of just their writing abilities.

If you have reluctant readers or writers (or just kids who want to explore something new), take a look at these lesson plans for teaching all about the basics of comics. Then encourage your kids to develop their own comic strips. Read comics with your kids and point out the different basic parts (listed below and in the printable) of comic strips.

Basic Parts of a Comic

Panels – These are what most of us probably think of when it comes to comics – the square or rectangular boxes that form together to make a comic strip. You might also see circular panels in some comics.

Balloons – These are where the words and thoughts of the comic characters come to life, and are often referred to as thought bubbles or speech balloons. The thought bubbles usually have a series of small bubbles leading to a larger “thought” – somewhat like a cloud, and tell us what the characters are thinking. Speech balloons usually have some sort of tapered line or shape, called pointers, that lead from the speech bubble to the character who is saying the words.

Splashes – There are two main kinds of splashes – splash balloons and a general splash. Splash balloons are those dramatic, jagged shapes that you would see enclosing words like “Pow!” or “Yikes!”. One splash usually refers to a title panel or one, large panel that is very dramatic.

Gutter – Just like it sounds, this is the extra space in a comic strip. There are typically no other drawings in these spaces, which are usually narrow strips between panels, but some artists do bleed the panels into this space.

For other tips to help your reluctant readers and writers, try these printable activities.

writing activities

reading lists for older kids

reading printables

writing printables

reluctant readers no-more

Related posts:

  1. Mom’s Most Important Business Partner: Dad
  2. More Writing Printables
  3. 8 Tips to Get Your Teen Reading the Classics

View full post on Parenting Tips For Raising Successful Kids | BetterParenting.com

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