Comics in the Classroom: 100 Tips, Tools, and Resources for Teachers

Comics in the Classroom: 100 Tips, Tools, and Resources for Teachers

By Kelsey Allen

Gone are the days of children sneaking comics past diligent parents and teachers watching out for sub-par literature. The comics of today not only have plenty to offer, they are gaining well-deserved recognition and awards. Take advantage of the natural affinity children have for comics and use them as a powerful teaching tool in your classroom. The following tips, tools, and resources will get you started.

Understanding Benefits and Usage in the Classroom

Understand how comics are beneficial in schools and ways they can be used.

  1. Eek! Comics in the Classroom!. This article describes many of the benefits of using comics and graphic novels in education and also includes resources for places to find appropriate materials for class.
  2. Comic Books in the Classroom. This news story outlines why comic books may be a great way to promote reading in reluctant readers as well as help teach writing, emotions, and more.
  3. Comics in the Classroom. Take an in depth look at the recent trend of using comics in the classroom, whether it is appropriate for the classroom, and resources for teaching with comics and graphic novels.
  4. Using Comics and Graphic Novels in the Classroom. Understand how using comics and graphic novels can help teach complex reading skills, punctuation, outlining, paragraphing, and literary terms.
  5. Comic Book Science in the Classroom. Listen to this NPR report about teaching with comics, including both benefits and concerns as seen by educators.
  6. Maryland Comic Book Initiative. Read about this initiative in Maryland elementary schools, then read the research behind it, get sample lessons, and watch videos of students in action.
  7. MSP#101: Comics in the Classroom. The last half of this podcast features Dr. Peter Coogan, Director of the institute for Comic Studies as he discusses comics in the classroom.
  8. Thoughts About Comics #2 My Comics Classroom. This teacher describes the value of comics in his fourth grade classroom.
  9. Comics in the Classroom. This informative article examines some of the reasons why comics and graphic novels are fast growing in school libraries, but a bit slower to reach the classrooms.
  10. Comic Books in the Classroom. The New York Times takes a look at the value of using comics in education and the success of The Comic Book Project.
  11. Gurney Journey: Comics in the Classroom. Illustrator James Gurney describes a tour of a class using comic books as inspiration. Be sure to read the comments section to hear from the teacher of the class.
  12. Hamlet too hard? Try a comic book. This article describes some of the benefits of using graphic novels in class to help struggling readers and to boost interest in subjects.

Resources for Using Comics in the Classroom

These resources are all valuable sources of information, tools, community, and more to help you use comics in your classroom.

  1. Comics in the Classroom. This site is all about promoting the use of comics in the classroom and includes news and reviews, lesson plans, forums, a blog, and much more.
  2. This organization helps promote quality teaching through comics and offers such resources as lesson plans, study guides, handouts, connections with other teachers, and featured schools using comics in the classroom.
  3. Comics in Education. This website is the final project for a teacher working on his Master’s degree and includes many resources for using comics in school.
  4. Drawing Cartoons Theme Page. This site offers tons of links to resources ranging from creating cartoons to learning about the profession of cartoonist to teacher resources.
  5. Toon Books. Keep abreast of the latest comic and graphic novels for emerging readers and also find lesson plans here.
  6. Educational Comic Books for the Classroom. This helpful article includes a list of comic books for elementary aged children, tips for using comics in the classroom, and resources for teachers.
  7. Comic Books as Curriculum. This interview with Richard Jenkins, co-author of Comics in Your Curriculum, offers a peek at the book written to help teachers learn how to incorporate comics into their lessons.

Suggested Comics for the Classroom

If you need a little help knowing what comics are both high-quality and age-appropriate, then check out these lists.

  1. Graphic Novels for (Really) Young Readers. Written by an elementary school librarian, this article offers excellent suggestions for beginning readers through more accomplished elementary readers–and a reminder of the powerful effects of using graphic novels in education.
  2. The Best Comics for Your Classroom: A List for All Grade Levels. This resource features lists of highly recommended and recommended comics categorized by age group.
  3. Comics in the Classroom. This PDF lists several comics and includes age ranges, including a “mature teen” rating, and publication information.
  4. Top 20 Children’s Comics. This listing offers descriptions, awards won, and any potentially objectionable material that might be in any of them.
  5. The Twelve Best Comic Books for the Classroom. This list includes five books for grades 2-6 and seven books for grades 7-12.
  6. Comics in the Classroom. This article, despite the numerous grammatical mistakes, does offer a wealth of information as to specific comics and the grade levels at which they may be used.
  7. Comics in the Classroom – The Course in Computer Games. Sent on a mission to discover which comics students could read that might make a good computer game like Second Life, this writer investigates and reports her findings.
  8. Reading, Writing, and Inquiry in the Science Classroom, Grades 6-12. This excerpt from the book includes a brief history of comics, a look at why comics are appealing to children, and a listing of comics and graphic novels that can be useful in teaching science.
  9. Top 10 Superhero Comic Books Your Kids Should Be Reading. This list is from a parent and only focuses on superhero comics, but browse through the comments for more recommendations, including many outside the superhero realm.

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