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Teaching English through Comics contains a series of activities based on comic strips and cartoons.
These activities may be used in class for various purposes, adding humor to your lessons and creating an
environment that is conducive to learning. All the activities can be used as they are or may serve as
springboard to your new ideas. Here you will find the lesson plans, the presentations, worksheets and
answer keys.

Adapting Comics and Cartoons for Classroom Teaching

1. to demonstrate high-frequency vocabulary in context
2. to illustrate idioms and expressions
3. to teach verbs and other parts of speech as examples of connected speech
4. to simulate dialogues to inject humor into class sessions
5. to provide a basis for oral discourse and writing activities
6. to illustrate culture and values

Teaching Punctuation, Paragraphing, and Outlining

1. Using comics and graphic novels in the classroom is about harnessing students natural interests,
explains Rachael Sawyer Perkins, a teacher at Dolores Street Elementary School in Carson,
California. She also believes that its a way to teach important reading and writing skills.
2. For students who lack the ability to visualize as they read, it provides a graphic sense that
approximates what good readers do as they read. Moreover, it provides an excellent way for
reluctant writers to communicate a story that has a beginning, middle, and end. I think comics
and graphic novels are an excellent vehicle for teaching writing, as a story has to be pared down
to its most basic elements. It is easy for the students to look at a short comic strip and identify
story elements.
3. Perkins uses comics to teach punctuation for dialogue, and sees them as an extremely visual
way of getting across the concept of using quotation marks around narrative text spoken by
individuals. The students knew that each time they saw a dialogue balloon it meant the text
inside was spoken and needed to be placed in quotation marks.
4. Perkins also finds that cartoons are an effective way to teach outlining skills. Using a comic, the
students were able to understand that each panel represented a paragraph. The narrative text at
the top became the topic sentence of sorts, communicating the main idea of the paragraph. The
details were found in the visuals and in the dialogue.

Activities Set in Using Comic and Cartoon in Language Teaching.

1. To Use Authentic Material

One of the greatest advantages is that comics and comic strips constitute authentic material. Although
there are now several comic strips that have been written by and for EFL/ESL learners, most of them are
written for other purposes than language learning. Using authentic material in the classroom has been
strongly encouraged in the field of language learning (Drolet, 2012, p. 124; Hadley, 2000, p. 179-188).
By using authentic materials, we provide our students with examples of how the language is actually used
in the real word, as opposed to artificial and/or awkward structures found in EFL textbooks.

2. To Have Fun and Motivate

Not all comics are funny, but they generally tend to be. Even more so, single comic strips are usually
structured to lead towards a punch line at the end. Simply read some of the comics presented here on
ComicsEnglish and you will most probably find yourself amused, smiling, or even laughing at some of
these comic strips. Furthermore, if the students find them funny, they would be much more likely to keep
reading. It is not always easy to develop somebody elses intrinsic motivation, but choosing the right
materials can really make a different.

3. To Learn About Different Cultures

Most comics and comic strips are situated in time and place (even though it is sometimes not stated
explicitly, by default, the action takes place in the country where the author resides at the present time),
this provides an opportunity for EFL learners to learn and discover other cultures. Especially with the
development of Webcomics that specialize on certain niches, students can identify with people with a
similar interest.

4. To Facilitate Vocabulary Acquisition

There are several reasons why it tends to be easier to understand vocabulary with comics:
1. Most importantly, the visual aspect of the comics generally provides the context and the visual
context of the words that are used. Very often, the words that are used in the bubbles are
illustrated on the canvas. For example, in this comic strip, the word shovel is mentioned and
illustrated at the same time.
2. Since the input is presented in writing, the learners can take the time they need to pause, go back,
analyze the text again, etc. This is less practical with audio and video materials.

5. To Develop Reading Skills

It goes without saying that more reading helps to develop reading skills, but what is particularly useful
with comic strips is that they rich provide visual contexts that will definitely help the readers understand
the text more easily. The constant visual support also helps the reader follow the sequence of the story.
Several studies have been done to test the fact that reading comics helps students understanding of texts,
I will refer you to the annotated bibliography here (under construction).

6. To Develop Analytical Skills and Writing Skill

Reading cartoons is more than just reading text and images. To fully grasp a comic strip, one has to put
the two together and see how they interact to construct the meaning. This encourages students to closely
pay attention to the graphics in relation to the text that is given. By doing so, students will be better able
to understand the use satire, symbolism and humor that is common in comic strips. By becoming familiar
to the structure of comics, students develop a better understand of logic and continuity in a narrative.