Professional Resources for Using Comics and Graphic Novels

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On Monday I led a workshop for teachers on teaching with comics that included tips and project ideas, lesson plans, printables, free online comics, and free comic creation tools.  In Wednesday’s blog post I shared the online resources I’ve compiled for using comics in the classroom, but I didn’t share any print books.  Here are some professional resources to consider if you want to learn more about using comics in the classroom:

teaching early reader comicsTeaching Early Reader Comics and Graphic Novels
by Katie Monnin
For teachers who want to use comics with elementary learners, this resource provides standards, lesson ideas, and reproducibles for students in Kindergarten up through 6th grade.  Each section includes sample lessons and a bibliography of comics and graphic novels to use with students.  Here’s an interview with the author from the Cynsations blog in which she talks about media literacy, teaching with graphic novels, and the companion book to this one for older students titled Teaching Graphic Novels: Practical Strategies for the Secondary ELA Classroom.

using graphic novels in the classroomUsing Graphic Novels in the Classroom Grd 4-8
by Melissa Hart
This book can be used with upper elementary and middle school students to help them analyze the graphic novel format and use that understanding to write and draw their own comics.  Standards-based lessons are supplemented with graphic organizers and reproducibles.

using graphic textsUsing Content-Area Graphic Texts for Learning: A Guide for Middle-Level Educators
by Meryl Jaffe
This is a resource to use with upper elementary and middle-grade students with a focus on using graphic novels as texts to convey content information.  The book includes separate chapters for Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies that include standards-based lesson ideas and bibliographies of recommended titles.  Here are some online articles written by the author.

comic strip mathComic-Strip Math: Problem Solving: 80 Reproducible Cartoons With Dozens and Dozens of Story Problems That Motivate Students and Build Essential Math Skills
by Dan Greenberg
Teachers of grades 3-6 who want to add a spark to their math lessons will want to consider this book, which introduces word problems with a silly comic strip that puts the math into context for the students.  Don’t limit yourself to the reproducible pages here; use this as a springboard for your students to create their own comics and story problems!

using comic artUsing Comic Art to Improve Speaking, Reading and Writing
by Steve Bowkett
This book can be used in all classrooms to help students understand the writing and speaking process through what they know about comics and graphic novels, and to help them understand the concept of making pictures in their minds as they read text.  It explains how comics offer the perfect condensed version of a story to illustrate writing conventions such as a strong opening and closing, a problem and a solution, creating suspense with pacing, etc.  It also includes a section on non-fiction writing and a bibliography.

teaching visual literacyTeaching Visual Literacy: Using Comic Books, Graphic Novels, Anime, Cartoons, and More to Develop Comprehension and Thinking Skills
by Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher
The focus of this book is on visual and media literacy, and explains how graphic novels and cartoons can spark thought-provoking discussions and lessons.  It includes a chapter on political cartoons – which can be used in social studies classes- as well as chapters on picture books and films.  These are not lesson plans, but rather essays and articles presenting background information, research findings, and advice for including visual literacy in the curriculum.  The authors share additional resources at their website, Literacy for Life.

And here is my collection of online resources:

Do you have a resource to recommend?  Please share it in the comments!


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