Win-Win with Comic Books!

This is an idea that came to me via a District colleague from a special ed. class she took and it’s simply brilliant.  It makes the kids re-read the story and focus in on its meaning, it’s easy, and it’s low-stress.

So, you have asked a story, and you (or your class writer) have written it out (and this has been edited by you).  OR, you are using somebody’s curriculum (eg Blaine Ray) and you have asked a story that uses the vocab in the printed version(s) of their story.

You hand out the written version of the story, and you do your various activities around it– volleyball/pingpong reading, Textivate, choral translation, Q&A, running dictation,  whatever.

Then, you get the kids to make a comic.  All they have to do is read the story, and make a 6-12 panel comic. Each panel must have 1-2 sentences of narration, relevant pictures, and either (a) the character thinking/saying what they are doing (eg “I am a boy, and I’m going to Taiwan”) or dialogue from the story. I give them 45 min. in one class (and one sheet of white paper) and if they aren’t done it’s hwk.  They need only copy sentences and dialogue from the story.  The emphasis is not on “writing” but on processing input.

While they are working on this, you, the teacher, get time to mark, plan whatever.  You can mark one of these in like 20 sec.  I give them a mark out of 3 (which goes into reading assessment): drawings match words, there are thoughts bubbles/dialogue, it’s complete, etc.  Anyone can do this.

These are the instructions they get:

Comics and art for stories:

  • One or two sentences per panel
  • Include all dialogue
  • Must have thought or speech bubbles in every panel
  • Words MUST match images
  • MUST have colour and look decent (but don’t obsess…stick-people are fine!)
  • Clip-art etc OK, or you can draw it
  • Messy, pencil, lined-paper, ugly, etc work will not be marked.

Here is a sample. 

Anyways…awesome!  Also, save them…BOOM! you are building a FVR library.


    1. ^ I don’t know if it was an app or a website but there are a bunch of free ones eg Bitstrips. Easy to find via google. It is a cool activity thanks to Adriana for passing it on.

  1. I have them make comics too, and they love it! Right now we’re doing it old school … Dividing a large sheet into 8 sections and drawing. I type out the parts but not in order. They glue the sentences underneath their drawing in each panel. This is elementary age kids I’m talking about.

    Pixton is an awesome site / app. Bitstrips doesn’t exist anymore…it was the best, but kids give Pixton a good review.

    1. I use StoryBoardThat, which I have found to be easier to use than Pixton. There’s a limit to how much a free account can create, but when kids hit that point, they can easily download their work and erase it from their account to keep making more panels. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s