Teaching English Vocabulary Using Comic Strips

Are you excited to use comic books to teach English? Why might using comics or comic strips to teach English be beneficial? This page presents some basic core notions about the use of comics in the EFL/ESL classroom that are both common sense and found in the research literature.

Linguistic learners may be apprehensive about reading English prose books, but the usage of comics or graphic novels provides a bonus to texts that combine language chunks and images, as words and images can expand a student’s vocabulary, inspiring them to read.

Graphic novels and comic books are now widely accepted as genuine forms of literature, and they are increasingly being taught in English schools.

They are not only motivational, but they also provide support for novice and advanced readers, spicing up a very uninteresting subject matter, according to studies.

From beginner to intermediate, cartoons and comic strips can be utilized for a range of linguistic and conversation exercises.

Comics can motivate students

There are various reasons why comics make it easier to comprehend vocabulary:

  • Most significantly, the visual part of comics provides the context and visual context of the words utilized. The words used in the bubbles are frequently depicted on the canvas. For example, the term shovel is uttered and drawn simultaneously in this comic strip.
  • Because the input is written, learners can take as much time as they need to pause, go back, re-analyze the text, and so on. With audio and video assets, this is less feasible.

Not all comics are amusing, but the majority of them are. Single comic strips, in particular, are frequently organized to lead to a punch line at the end. Simply reading some of the comics featured on ComicsEnglish will most likely leave you amused, smiling, or perhaps laughing. Additionally, if the kids find them amusing, they are considerably more inclined to continue reading. It’s not always easy to cultivate someone else’s intrinsic motivation, but the correct materials can go a long way. Intrinsic motivation also aids in the development of kids’ reading abilities.

Comics can enhance reading skills

It takes more than just reading words and graphics to enjoy a cartoon. To truly comprehend a comic strip, one must combine the two and see how they interact to create the message. This motivates pupils to pay special attention to the graphics as they relate to the text. Students will be better able to comprehend the use of satire, symbolism, and humor in comic strips if they do so.

Cartoons are effective teaching tools because they can:

  • In a few photographs, tell a complicated tale.
  • Comment on current events and problems in the news and elicit thinking.
  • Give an example of current-trends and fads-related jargon.
  • Assemble a cast of immediately recognizable characters to use as the foundation for sketching.
  • Demonstrate culture in action by seeing how men and women behave and are expected to behave.
  • Racism, adolescent romances, sexism, ageism, and family ties are all discussed and shown.

Activities for using comic strips

Tell a story

  • Cut the pictures up and have the students re-arrange the story. Giving distinct frames to each student in a group and instructing them not to display the photographs until they have arrived at an order by describing the pictures would make this more complex and hard linguistically.
  • Remove the last cartoon image and urge pupils to come up with a conclusion. Students that are artistic may enjoy drawing the final frame. Decide which ending is the best.
  • Remove the sentences from beneath each picture and have lower levels either match them to each frame or construct the story’s phrases. Vocabulary cues on the board may be necessary at lower levels.

Make the comic strip

  • Give pupils a comic strip with each frame containing a short paragraph. For each frame, have students cut each paragraph to one sentence. Examine their work in comparison to the original. You can discuss ways for summarizing your message at higher levels.
  • Give the students a narrative to read. Groups confer to figure out what’s missing. Give them the version in the form of a comic strip. They must use the comic strip graphics to fill in the gaps in their written plot. After that, have them come up with speech bubbles for the comic strip. This could also incorporate character thought bubbles.
  • A comic strip’s speech bubbles should be removed. Cut them up and distribute them. Instruct them to place their orders while imagining the scenario or event. For the rest of the lesson, groups can act out their interpretation. Then provide them the comic strip and ask them to check if their speech bubbles are appropriate for the plot.
  • When using a short story with younger students, ask them to turn it into a four-picture series. This can be a group project or a whole-class activity in which each group draws one portion. Allow time for younger students to color their renditions of a black-and-white comic strip.
  • Using a photocopied comic strip, create an information gap. Fill in the blanks or alter the dialogue between the characters. Make sets with a variety of colors. Set up a spot the difference activity with the comic strip, then transition into narrative telling and acting out the comic strip.

Final Thoughts

According to the data acquired, employing comics in the classroom improves literacy and meets the educational needs of a wide range of students. It is obvious that teachers should adapt to their students’ changing needs and explore employing a variety of learning strategies and resources to stimulate and assist students in improving their reading abilities through the usage of comics.

Further action?

A set of activities based on comic strips and cartoons are included in Teaching English through Comics. These activities can be utilized in class for a variety of purposes, including bringing fun to your lessons and establishing a learning environment. All of the activities can be used as is or as a jumping off point for new ideas. The lesson plans, presentations, worksheets, and answer keys may all be found here. I hope you enjoy yourself as much as your pupils did!

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