Key Concepts

  • Conceptual Understanding
  • Motivation
  • Multiple Literacies
  • Self-expression
  • Visual Thinking

Key Principles

  • Concepts trump content.
  • Engage students with comics about social issues and important disciplinary content.
  • Focus students' attention on the ways that authors package concepts for target audiences, including aesthetic considerations and rhetorical strategies.
  • Consider the ways in which comics reduce cognitive load and make space for readers to increase their intellectual engagement with the text.
  • Offer students opportunities to exercise their own creativity and self-expression by re-presenting conceptual content and creating social commentary with comics.

Comics in FL



Scott McLeod's Inventions - Contains links to 5 different activities that could form the basis for motivating assignments for students

ComicBookDBLogo.gif - A searchable comic wiki with information regarding characters, creators, imprints, publishers, story arcs, and titles. (From Gene Yang)


BedethequeLogo.png- A database of comics in French

lambiek_comiclopediaLogo.gif - A searchable, online encyclopedia of comics, available in Dutch, English, and French, that is organized by artist. It contains biographical information about each artist, the history of their work, sample comics, and links to artist's websites and other sites containing collections of the comic strips


AnimeChecklist.gif- Searchable database of Japanese anime characters produced in Japan since 1917 (From Lee Sherlock & Megan Firestone)


Comics y la cultura de masas - Contains information in about a variety of popular comics and what they teach us about the cultures of those who created them

LamiraLogo.jpg - Extensive list of comic-related sites in Spanish

Picasso Woman - Depicts various women, one of whom is done in Picasso's style.

QuinoLogo.jpg - Links to the popular Argentine comics of Mafalda & Quino

Commercial Software

ComicLifeLogo.jpg - The ultimate in comic book creation software--flexible, functional, inexpensive, and intuitive--students can create their own comics based on digital photos they've taken (Free 30-day trial available. Unfortunately, only compatible with Macs) For free, online software that is very similar, visit pikisrtips_header.png

Educational Examples

GamicsLogo.jpg - A site dedicated to comics in English made machinima style (from the backgrounds and avatars of popular videogames). These would make interesting examples for similar student projects.

Marengo Story Comics (2nd Grade) - 2nd grade students create comic books to summarize and extend popular children's stories

HowToons - Use comics as a tool for explaining content!

Andy Bobyarchick's Field Trip Comics- Use comics to share the story of your latest fieldtrip with parents and community members

Educational Resources

Ashkenas, Joan. Comics and conversation: Using humor to elicit conversation and develop vocabulary. Studio City, CA: Jag Publications. ISBN 0-943327-12-1. One of a series of three books filled with reproducible blackline masters of wordless stories told through cartoons.

Comics in Education - A website created by graphic novelist Gene Yang that contains a history of comics in education, reasons for using comics in education, and quality resources (both online and print-based) for educators who wish to use comics in their classrooms. (From Gene Yang)

Comic Life - A great page filled with links to information on the use of comics and graphic novels in education, including lesson plans, sample student projects, software, tutorials, and more. Be sure to take a look at the other tech projects in the navigation bar on the left

Cary, Stephen. Going graphic: Comics at work in the multilingual classroom. Heinemann. ISBN 0-325-00475-7. A phenomenal book filled with practical ideas and activities for using comics as a tool for language teaching and learning in the K-12 classroom. The book is well-organized, research-based, and contains lesson plans and sample student work. (From Gene Yang)

Escrapbooking - Links to lesson plans, software options, and step-by-step how-tos for creating comics in PowerPoint with sounds and animation

Graphic Novels for (Really) Young Readers

Graphic Novels in the Curriculum - Concise overview with links to quality resources, including a very nice handout

Ideas for Using Comics in FL Classes - A few suggestions to help you start brainstorming

National Association of Comics Art Educators - Look at the Teaching Resources section to find links to exercises, handouts,and other online resources designed to help educators use comics in the classroom. (From Gene Yang)

No Flying, No Tights - An annotated list of graphic novel recommendations for children, teens, and adults categorized by age and interest. (From Gene Yang)

Recommended Graphic Novels for Public Libraries - An annotated list of graphic novels appropriate for ages 12-16.

Schwarz, Gretchen. Graphic novels for multiple literacies. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy. Retrieved February 21, 2007, from - A short, teacher-friendly article on how and why graphic novels support student learning.

Starr, Linda. (2004). Eek! Comics in the classroom. Education World.

Superman Finds New Fans Among Literacy Instructors - Article re: the expansion of a program that uses comic-creation and graphic novels to strengthen students' literacy skills after a study yielded promising results

Using Graphic Novels in the Classroom - This short guide from Scholastic, downloadable as a PDF, addresses the whats, whys, and hows of using graphic novels in the classroom. - chericem1 chericem1


Comic Rubric - An outstanding rubric created by professional graphic novelist, Gene Yang, for assessing the formatting aspects of students' graphic novel projects. (From Gene Yang)


ComicCreatorBoysLifeLogo.jpg - Students can create their Peewee comics by mixing and matching backgrounds, characters, props, adding text, and printing their creations

ComiqsLogo.gif - Simple editor that allows students to upload photos (or choose from a photo library), and add speech bubbles, etc.

ComicCreatorSurfSwell.jpg - Students can select a famous Disney character, change their facial expressions and clothing, add a title and a short paragraph, and print their work

GoAnimateLogo.gif - Create animated cartoons (with or without audio - which can be recorded via phone)

mainada_logo_small.jpg - Perfect for artists--lets you sketch and animate your own comic strips (in color) online for free

MakeBeliefsComixLogo.png - Comic generator site lets you select from a number of different characters, change their emotions, overlap elements, rescale things, etc.

PicassoheadLogo.jpg - Drag and drop facial features to create your own Picasso-like portrait

pikisrtips_header.png - Free, well-designed online software similar to Comic Life that lets you create comic strips and save them for others to view

PixtonLogo.jpg - Comic creation site that will take Chinese characters (and translate them) - courtesy of Aaron Bray

ProjectCartoonLogo.jpg - This site lets you take a nicely colored version of the tree swing cartoon and customize its captions to suit your own project. It also has a variety of versions of the cartoon in multiple languages designed to be used in a wide array of contexts

ReadWriteThinkLogo.gif - Comic creator allows studentsto create a comic strip with multiple panels by selecting black and white backgrounds, characters, and props from a clip art library, adding titles and text, and printing their work

StripCreatorLogo.jpg - A super site that allows students to select characters and backgrounds from extensive libraries, add text bubbles and titles, and save them online for others to see

StripGeneratorLogo.jpg - A phenomenal site with stock characters that will appeal to students and allows them to create truly original work

ComicShopLocatorLogo.png - Type in your zip code to find the comic book shop closest to you. (From Gene Yang)

ToonDooLogo.jpg - A really nice site that lets students drag and drop characters, props, and even speed lines, etc. into comic frames. You can position things in front of or behind other things using the buttons at the bottom. Very intuitive and kid friendly. Be sure to click on all the buttons (Suggested by vidgan1)


XtranormalNewLogo.png - Create mini, animated videos from stock elements


Comic Tutorial Dropdown

More Information About Comics & Graphic Novels in the Classroom

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