Thursday, July 8, 2010

Comic Strips! They Help Kids Learn to Read and Write!

According to Bill Zimmerman, a prize-winning newspaper editior, comic strips, like their cousins graphic novels and comic books, are more accepted today by educators as tools for helping children master literacy. The funny silly, clever, and touching story lines in each short strip draw eager readers in. Just a few words per frame is all it takes for a comic strip's characters to reveal a complete story. They don't require long sentences or paragraphs to relate a captivating tale or a powerful message.

Getting your kids into comic strips is easy. Just pick up a newspaper or visit a comic strip website like Then, you can extend the educational value by helping them create a strip of their own. Some kids need only a blank piece of paper and pencil to churn out box after box. For those who need a prompt, you can enjoy to fun of creating one together. Try these ideas:

1. Draw a row of story boxes or print one from the Internet try A few large boxes is best at first. Your child can work up to a grid when she's ready fro a longer sequence.

2. Brainstorm with your young cartoonist. Will the characters be humans or animals? What emotions might they display happiness, sadness, anger? Where does the story take place?

3. Think about real-life situations to depict, such as a joke Dad told yesterday or a wacky thing that happened on the way to school. Move on to fantasy if your child wishes.

4. You can either draw by hand or use a free online comic strip generator (

Once you children have gotten in the swing of things, you'll probably find that their vocabulary expands as they search for new words to help their characters express themselves.


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