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Encouraging Students to Write and Read by Creating Comics

by Bill Zimmerman

Want your students to develop their imaginations, as well as a fondness for reading and writing and telling stories? Then encourage them to create their own comic strips. My own love of comics and understanding of their value as a learning tool began when I was a child. Back then, the very best day of the week was Sunday mornings when my dad left home early to bring back an armload of newspapers, all with their glorious color comics sections.

The funnies were my paradise – I’d spend the morning going over each strip, following the adventures of my favorite characters, even flying in the sky with them. I’d look at the dazzling illustrations, be drawn into their colorful worlds and be challenged to decipher the letters in the white balloons coming from the characters’ mouths or floating above their heads. And with help from my father, I’d try my best to sound out the words in the talk balloons and make sense of the stories they told.

Comic strips provide perfect vehicle for learning and practicing language.  Each strip’s three or four panels provide a finite, accessible world in which funny, interesting looking characters live and

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