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19 English Comic Books to Learn English

Comics can be a great way to learn English.

The pictures in the comics help you understand the story and context. The words give you the dialogue and details. 

In this post, I’ll show you the best comic books English learners can use to improve their language skills while enjoying incredible stories .

1. “Reading with Pictures: Comics That Make Kids Smarter”

2. “sketch monsters: escape of the scribbles”, 3. “diary of a wimpy kid”, 4. “bone”, 5. “calvin and hobbes”, 6. “archie”, 7. “garfield”, 8. “shen comix”, 9. “peanuts”, 10. “maus”, 11. “spider-man”, 12. “watchmen”, 13. “the sandman”, 14. “fables”, 15. “romantically apocalyptic”, 16. “batman”, 17. “superman”, 18. “x-men”, 19. “ms. marvel”, and one more thing....

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learning-english-through-comics

Level: Beginner

Genre:  Education

For a very long time, comic books were thought of as the opposite of educational. But now, more and more educators are realizing the power of comic books for learning.

This book is specifically made for beginner readers in English . It includes more than 12 short stories. The topics include American presidents, science, history and even fiction.

The stories are short and very easy to read . This is a perfect introduction to comic books for beginners. As the stories are made for American classrooms, learners can also get to know the basics of American history and society .

Sketch Monsters Vol. 1: Escape of the Scribbles (1)

Genre:  Fantasy

This is a story about Mandy, who doesn’t share her feelings with anyone. Instead, she draws them on a notebook as monsters.

One day, she discovers that all those monsters have escaped from her notebook into the real world and she has to capture them all back.

This is a good and short book to learn basic English vocabulary about emotions and feelings . The book is also great for learning the names of the objects found in schools and homes .

learning-english-through-comics

Genre:  Comedy

This book series is more heavy on text as compared to the other comic series so it’s best for those that prefer  more English reading practice .

The story is about a kid named Greg Heffley and his various problems. Each book’s story revolves around one major problem in Greg’s life including financial, family and social issues.

The book series is quite useful for anyone who wants to learn about the culture of growing up in the English-speaking world. 

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learning-english-through-comics

Level: Beginner to intermediate

Genre: Comedy, fantasy

This comic series follows the “Bone” cousins as they get lost when exploring a forest.

They then embark on an epic adventure that includes fighting the “Lord of Locusts” as he tries to destroy the Valley of creatures.

This comic book is unique, funny and has many elements of the fantasy genre . Learners will find it really easy to read .

The comic does have some slightly historical themes that can contribute more to educational elements of this book. 

learning-english-through-comics

This comic started in the late 1980s but it continues to be relevant to readers even today.

The comic tells the story of a young kid named Calvin who always plays with his imaginary tiger friend, Hobbes.

They often go on adventures together, talk about the adult world and try to solve each other’s problems. 

The series is great for learning about the vocabulary used during play and also about the everyday culture in the U.S.

learning-english-through-comics

Level: Intermediate

Genre:  Romantic-comedy 

This comic series is often seen as a symbol of American culture . 

The series is set in a small town called Riverdale. Archie is the teenage protagonist of the series, but his high school friends are equally important for the stories.

Betty and Veronica are his two closest friends who also want to date him. The main plot of the series revolves around their love triangle (when two people like the same person). 

This comic  explains the social structure of a high school very well and demonstrates a lot of casual language . 

Genre:  Humor

The orange cat called Garfield is known by almost all Americans. 

This series follows the everyday life of this lazy cat, his owner Jon and a dog called Odie.

The comics are very casual , often talking about the eating habits of Garfield and his hatred for Mondays and diets. This comic is great for readers who don’t want to deal with complex issues and just want to focus on the language.

Readers can use “Garfield” to learn more about what is socially acceptable in America as well as more informal English . 

Genre:  Comedy, motivation

“Shen Comix” is a web comic that has taken the English world by storm and you’ve likely seen a meme or two from this comic strip. 

The comic doesn’t totally have a story, but is rather more like an online blog in the form of a comic. The author bases the strips on his own life.

The topics of the comics can be varied from comedic strips to more motivational comics. The creator also often answers questions from readers with his comics. 

This one is great for intermediate reading practice  and interacting with a very involved reader’s community!

comic strip english lesson

This comic strip ran from the year 1950 to 2000 and has readers from all around the world.

The story centers on Charlie Brown, his group of friends and his dog Snoopy. He’s a persistent and determined boy who keeps failing at various things but never gives up. 

The stories deal with a wide range of topics such as friendship and love. The comic strips are very short and perfect for simple reading practice . 

Level: Advanced

Genre:  Historical

This graphic novel  (a long story in a comic book format) tries to capture the experiences of the people who survived the trauma of the Holocaust.

The author, Art Spiegelman, tells the story of his father, a survivor of the Holocaust. All the victims of the Nazis are shown as mice and the Nazis themselves are cats. All the events shown in the comic are real.

The historical background alone makes “Maus” a must for English learners, as it teaches you both about history and natural but not too casual  English.

Genre:  Action

You’ve probably at least heard of Spider-Man if not seen the movies or read the comic books. He’s one of the most famous superheroes in the world along with characters like Batman or Superman.

Spider-Man is a young superhero who gets special abilities after being bitten by a radioactive spider. The series then follows Spider-Man through his fights against crime and evil in New York City.

Through this comic you can learn a lot about American high schools and the vocabulary used by teens in the U.S.  as well as typical vocabulary surrounding crime and justice.

comic strip english lesson

Genre:  Action, mystery

This comic is set in the Cold War era featuring a group of ex-superheroes. The story is a murder mystery where the deaths of various Watchmen members are investigated.

The story is really an analysis of American society as a whole as it existed in the 1980s. Although the historical events are slightly altered, the comic represents America very realistically.

Through this comic, you’ll learn different versions of American English  as some characters use a lot of slang where others speak very formally.

comic strip english lesson

Genre: Fantasy

Like all the other superhero comics, the main character has special powers. But unlike the other superheroes, Sandman is closer to a god rather than a human with powers.

Sandman controls the world of imagination and dreams.

The comic is a very long collection of stories  that cover a wide range of topics from mythology to literature to fantasy. 

This series is great for reading practice and learning about various cultures from around the world. The sheer diversity included in this series makes it very relatable for most readers.

comic strip english lesson

The word fable refers to fictional stories that often have a moral message and are traditionally passed from one generation to another.

In the world of this comic, the characters of well-known fables and fairy tales are forced to run away from their home due to an enemy called the “Adversary.”

The fables live in a secret place within New York City and face conflicts such as trying to hide in the human world or fighting with the Adversary. 

For this comic, you will need advanced reading skills to understand. Most of the stories deal with life in America and use  American English .

Genre:  Dystopian, comedy

This comic takes place in a world that has already been destroyed. Like Shen Comix, this is a webcomic that’s immensely popular on the internet.

The main character, Pilot, finds himself in a destroyed city and joins a group of crazy people lead by a person called Captain. The events that take place are often rather comedic and demonstrate English humor.

The comic is a great learning resource as you will not only get reading practice, but conversation and listening practice through the interactive community and provided audio recordings . 

Level:  Advanced

Batman: A Death in the Family

Batman doesn’t have any superpowers, but he is a master of martial arts and extremely wealthy, so he makes special weapons, cars and other gadgets that help him fight evil. 

Newer Batman comics are for older readers and involve crime fighting and questions about justice. This makes them a great resource for exploring more difficult concepts and vocabulary surrounding justice.

Level: Intermediate to advanced

All Star Superman

Superman has superpowers like invincibility, super strength, X-ray vision and flying. While Superman fights crime and is also a reporter for a newspaper, these comics are more like science fiction than Batman.

Most Superman comics are for all ages, which makes them suitable for most levels of English learners as well.

X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga (Uncanny X-Men (1963-2011))

Some can heal themselves, fly, control the weather, create ice or change their appearance whenever they want to. These mutants face a fight against the main villain Magneto but also struggle to blend in with the non-mutants.

This series is very exciting and has plenty of cool superheroes, but it also draws attention to social and political issues that reflect those that we see in the real world.

This makes the language a bit more complex , but great for those that want something beyond powers and fighting. 

Genre:  Action, Science Fiction

Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: Best of the Best (Ms. Marvel (2006-2010))

Ms. Marvel comics tend to be more of a science fiction read that also contains serious themes, making them more suitable for older readers. 

While the series can reflect on serious issues, the action of the comic is exciting and sure to keep you engaged.

You will learn a great deal of vocabulary from this series, especially when it comes to things relating to science.

The next time you need a break from boring lessons, just find a comfortable chair and sit down with one of these comic books to make your learning journey an adventure!

If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials , as you can see here:

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If you want to watch it, the FluentU app has probably got it.

The FluentU app and website makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.

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FluentU lets you learn engaging content with world famous celebrities.

For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you see this:

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FluentU lets you tap to look up any word.

Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.

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comic strip english lesson

comic strip english lesson

Eight Ways to Use Comic Strips in the Classroom

Oxford University Press ELT

Comic strips provide a unique and exciting way to engage learners in the world of English. Check out these eight tips for making and using them in your classroom.

1) Making comic strips as a group activity

Creating a comic strip is a great group activity. Some learners can write the story, some can draw, and some can colour. Learners should speak in English and work together. Start by teaching them functional phrases like “Can I do the drawings?” and “I’d like to write the story”.

2) Using comic strips to teach vocabulary

If you’ve just given a lesson about shopping, learners can write a comic strip about ‘going to the shops’. If you’ve just taught them to use the future tense, they can write a comic strip about ‘making plans’. Encourage learners to describe what happens in each frame of their comic strip in English. They should make story notes before they start drawing.

3) Creating fun characters

Keep your students engaged by helping them to create interesting characters for their comic strips. Try asking questions about their characters like “Has he got a long or a short nose?”, “Is she wearing a shirt or a jumper?”, and “Is he happy or grumpy?”

Why not ask them to create a ‘character guide’ before drawing their comic strips? This could be a notebook where they design and describe every character using key vocabulary.

4) Drawing and colouring a comic strip

Your learners should begin by drawing the comic strip frames, speech balloons, and characters in pencil. They should then draw over these lines in ink. Afterwards, they should write words in pencil in the speech balloons. You can check these for spelling and grammar before they draw over them in ink. When the ink is dry, learners can erase the pencil lines and colour in the comic strip.

Are your students good with technology? They could also create a comic strip digitally by taking photos and adding speech bubbles with Photoshop!

5) Using comic strips to practice speaking skills

Once your learners have finished creating their comic strips, there are many follow-up activities you can use them for in the classroom. For example, you could ask each group of learners to act out their comic strips in front of the class. Each learner should choose a character and practice saying their lines before performing them with their group. This will help learners practice their speaking skills.

You could also get students to perform this activity with comic strips from a coursebook. If each group changes three words in the strip before they act it out, listening students can play ‘spot the difference’ between the text in the comic strip and the words they hear.

6) Using comic strips as reading tasks

You can use your learners’ comic strips to create a set of unique reading tasks. Ask each group to create a set of true or false questions and comprehension activities to go with their comic strips. Now you can share these out amongst the class, or save them to use later.

7) Creating more activities with comic strips

Your learners can prepare even more skills work and language tasks to go with their comic strips. For example, they can design tasks like ‘Match these six words with their synonyms in the comic strip’ or ‘Find the opposite of these seven words in the comic strip’ or ‘Look at these eight words and find places in the comic to add them’. Groups can then exchange their finished comic strips and tasks.

Why not try using coursebook comic strips to create even more fun activities. Try creating a comprehension task by photocopying a comic strip and cutting out the text from the speech balloons. Now you can give your learners the pictures from the comic strip in the correct order, and the text in a jumbled order. Ask them to match the correct text with the correct pictures and put the story together!

8) Entering the Project Explore Competition

If you like these ideas and want another way to enjoy comic strips in your classroom, try entering The Project Explore Competition !

Engage your learners and win great prizes by asking them to complete the story of The Ancient Statue with their very own comic strip!

You may also like

Helping advanced students overcome the language learning plateau, 10 reasons to use songs in the young learner classroom, why i use songs to teach english to my primary students.

Bonjour, I used Addicted to War a comic strip account of USA history, now out of print sadly, I bought it in Paris and used it for young adults learning English… When teaching French there is a plethora of bandes desinees such as Tardi, Sfar, and the donjon series… Very popular!

Good and fun method to work on students skills such as creativity, reading and writing.

[…] via Eight Ways to Use Comic Strips in the Classroom — Oxford University Press […]

thanks for helpful ideas. I used comic stripes for detective story. My students practised past simple and progressive in their own stories

[…] great post from the Oxford University Press on incorporating Comic Strips into the […]

I have never read such a successful article before. Really nice blog post. Thanks.

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Comics English: Having Fun Learning English with Comic Strips

We believe that learning English should be fun!

Learning English takes time and it’s not easy to remain motivated when the materials you use are boring. These comic strips will hopefully lighten up the mood and encourage you to learn more vocabulary in context.

Feel free to add comments on the page to share your thoughts, feelings, or the questions you may have to fully understand these comics.

Comments are closed.

What the Duck

Mimi and eunice, comics english, grise bouille.

  • Teaching secondary
  • Pre-intermediate A2

Activities for using comic strips

Comic strips can be used from beginner level to advanced level for a variety of language and discussion activities.

comic strip english lesson

They are powerful teaching tools and can:

  • Tell a complex story in a few images
  • Provide comment and provoke thought on events and issues in the news
  • Give an example of vocabulary related to current trends and fads
  • Provide easily identifiable characters to form the basis for sketches
  • Show culture in action with the ways that men or women are behaving and are expected to behave

Tell the story

  • Cut up the pictures and get students to reorder the story. Make this more difficult and challenging linguistically by giving separate frames to each student in a group and ask them to not show the pictures until they have arrived at an order through describing the pictures.
  • Remove the last picture of a cartoon and ask students to think of an ending. Artistic students may like to draw the last frame. Vote for the best ending.
  • Remove the sentences under each frame and either ask students to match them to each frame or ask them to write the sentences that tell the story. Lower levels might need vocabulary prompts on the board.

Make the comic strip

  • Give students a comic strip with a short paragraph for each frame. Ask students to reduce each paragraph to one sentence for each frame. Compare their efforts to the original. With higher levels you can discuss techniques of summarising your message.
  • Give students a story. Groups confer to guess what might be missing. Give them the comic strip version. They must fill in the blanks in their written story by using the comic strip pictures. Then ask them to think of speech bubbles for the comic strip. This might also include thought bubbles for characters.
  • Remove the speech bubbles from a comic strip. Cut them up and give out. Ask them to order them and to imagine what the story or situation is. Groups can act out their version for the class. Then give them the comic strip and ask them to see if their speech bubbles fit the story there.
  • When you use a short story with younger learners ask them to make the story into a series of four pictures. This can be a group effort or a whole class task with each group drawing one part. If you use a black and white comic strip allow time for younger learners to colour their versions.
  • Make an information gap using a photocopied comic strip. Blank out details or change what characters are saying. Make sets which are coloured differently. Set up spot the difference activities using the comic strip and then lead in to storytelling and acting out the comic strip.

Exploit characters

  • What makes this character special?
  • What can they do? Have they got special powers?
  • What are their weaknesses?
  • What do they look like?
  • What are their special interests or ambitions?
  • Then ask each group or pair to choose a favourite character and make a simple situational dialogue which is typical for them.
  • Ask students to work in pairs or groups to invent their own character. If appropriate students can draw the character. Give the character special powers, a name and a special mission, then tell a story involving the character.

Exploit short sequences for sketches and improvisations

  • Choose a key situation which would involve language students might need to practise, such as agreeing with opinions, asking permission or saying you are sorry.
  • Use a sequence from a cartoon with the sound off so students describe what is happening, imagine what is being said and can then use the sequence to improvise a sketch. Listen to the real sketch at the end.

Online sources of comic strips

Hi Claire. There's some really useful ideas here so thank you. I just wondered if you could recommend a few good online sources of comic strips to be used in a language classroom. I often want to incorporate them into lessons but spend so long searching for good examples that I give up! Many thanks, Laura

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Creating comic strips

Canva offers a tool for creating your comic strips here: https://www.canva.com/create/comic-strips/

I hope that's useful,

Paul (TeachingEnglish team)

Thank you so much to Clare Lavery and to the British Council for providing us some tips to enhance our teaching. These ideas are so helpful to incorporate in my class and to make it more lively. These activities are so interesting!

Research and insight

Browse fascinating case studies, research papers, publications and books by researchers and ELT experts from around the world.

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comic strip english lesson

Over the last decade, comic books have transitioned from niche market to the engine of popular culture. This rise in the medium has prompted a discussion on the educational potential of comic books and graphic novels. While students may be versed in comic books and popular culture, classroom implementation is dependent on teacher familiarity with and literacy in comic books and culture. The materials below will provide you with media-rich resources to develop knowledge and promote English language learning through visual literacy. 

Table of Contents

Panels and Perspectives: Creating Comics in the English as a Foreign Language Classroom is an instructional guide to creating comics for educators of all English language learners. Presented in comic book format, Panels and Perspectives includes insights, strategies, and practical applications for making comics in any American English classroom to improve both language skills and critical thinking abilities. English teachers will discover there are many correct ways for students to create comics, whether they use photos, sketches, superheroes, or funny animals with superpowers to tell their stories.

comic strip english lesson

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Description:

Combining the written word with even the simplest doodles can be a powerful means for students to demonstrate their understanding.   Panels and Perspectives: Creating Comics in the English as a Foreign Language Classroom  is an instructional guide to creating comics for educators of all English language learners.  Presented in comic book format,  Panels and Perspectives  includes insights, strategies, and practical applications for making comics in any American English classroom to improve both language skills and critical thinking abilities. English teachers will discover there are many correct ways for students to create comics, whether they use photos, sketches, superheroes, or funny animals with superpowers to tell their stories. 

Here are some comic book resources to use in your classroom or home.  

Zonk! Comics for the Classroom

Zonk 1 and Zonk 2, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Peru, created by professional comic illustrators Benjamin Ilka and Fabricio Rivas, showcase local talent from students and teachers across Peru. The goal is to get students and teachers excited about sharing their knowledge of local culture through comic book stories as a way to improve the language learning experience and enhance critical thinking skills. The stories come from communities across Peru, but they are intended to reach people around the world. The books have practical tips to adapt each story for use in your classroom or home. 

Trace Effects Comics

Text: These comics follow Trace on his adventures throughout the United States. Geared toward young people, Trace Effects exposes users to American society and explores themes related to entrepreneurship, community activism, empowering women, science and innovation, environmental conservation, and conflict resolution. 

Why English? Comics for the Classroom 

The stories in Why English? Comics for the Classroom – written by teenagers and young adults – will appeal to learners of all ages. These stories provide an enjoyable opportunity to increase vocabulary, reading comprehension, listening, speaking, and writing. The stories and exercises together are a whole-language anthology designed to improve communication skills. This book provides exercises that employ the cooperative/collaborative learning philosophy and address multiple learning styles.  

Teacher's Corner: Reported Speech This lesson plan uses the Trace Effects comics.  

COMIC BOOK TEACHING MATERIALS

Zonk 1  (PDF)

Zonk 2   (PDF)

Chapter 1   (PDF)

Chapter 2   (PDF)

Chapter 3  (PDF)

Chapter 4    (PDF)

Chapter 5  (PDF)

Chapter 6   (PDF)

Chapter 7   (PDF)

Why English? Comics for the Classroom

Trace Effects Classroom Language Learning Activity: Reported Speech

Creating Comics to Think Critically

This session, "Creating Comics to Think Critically," provides strategies global educators can use to help English language learners create comics as a means of developing their language and critical thinking skills.

Using Comics in the English Language Classroom

Using comics in the EFL classroom is a terrific way to incorporate the target language in a fun, engaging way. This webinar demonstrates the universality of comics for any language classroom, showing how multi-skill comic activities can be used with students of all ages and ability levels.

Animating Your Instruction: Using Comics and Graphic Novels in the English Language Classroom

This session, "Animating Your Instruction: Using Comics and Graphic Novels in the English Language Classroom," explores the popularity of illustrated stories among teachers and students alike and offers suggestions on how to use them to “animate” your classes. 

Webinar: Using Comics to Think Critically

Webinar: Using Comics in the English Language Classroom

Webinar: Animating Your Instruction: Using Comics and Graphic Novels in the EFL Classroom

Teacher’s Corner: Comic Books for Learning In this article, teachers will explore ways in which comic books can be used effectively in the classroom.

FORUM: Using Comic Strips in Language Classes The author of this article discusses how comics can motivate younger learners, provide a context for language learning, and aid in comprehension through visual literacy.

FORUM: Student Storytelling through Sequential Art This article provides helpful advice for teachers interested in using sequential art as a source of authentic reading material in their classrooms.

FORUM: Creating Cartoons: A Learner-Centered Approach to Comprehending Texts This article carefully describes the technique of having learners create cartoons based on a reading passage to explore their understanding of the passage and to help teachers reflect on what the learners comprehended.

Teacher’s Corner: Comic Books for Learning

Forum:  Using Comic Strips in Language Classes

Forum:  Student Storytelling through Sequential Art

Forum:  Creating Cartoons: A Learner-Centered Approach to Comprehending Texts

Volume 1: Hope and Power

In this anthology volume, you'll find the stories of our teachers, centered on the topics of access to education, empathy and understanding, healthcare and wellness, gender equity, and climate change, all in comic form. This anthology was created by participants of the inaugural American English Global Comics Virtual Exchange Program in spring of 2020.

Volume 2: Agents of Change This volume contains collected comic stories from the participants of the AE Global Comics Virtual Exchange Program Pilot, Fall 2020.  Participants created these comics using Pixton EDU, hand-drawing, or by using a combination of digital tools and comics.  Comics are generally read in panels, left to right.  Each pair has an introduction to their projects, containing their biographies.  We hope you’ll enjoy reading these amazing stories!  

Volume 3: The World on Paper 

This volume contains collected comic stories from the participants of the AE Global Comics Virtual Exchange Program Pilot, Winter 2021.  The theme for this volume is “The World on Paper” and participants, either working in pairs or alone, developed an original comic story featuring a participant-created national superhero working to address a global challenge.  Topics include technology and innovation; media literacy and disinformation; climate change; entrepreneurship and economic mobility; and democracy and human rights.  Participants created these comics using Pixton EDU, hand-drawing, or by using a combination of digital tools and comics.  

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The Comic Creator invites students to compose their own comic strips for a variety of contexts (prewriting, pre- and postreading activities, response to literature, and so on). The organizers focus on the key elements of comic strips by allowing students to choose backgrounds, characters, and props, as well as to compose related dialogue (shown at left). This versatile tool can be used by students from kindergarten through high school, for purposes ranging from learning to write dialogue to an in-depth study of a formerly neglected genre. The tool is easy to use, made even easier with the Comic Strip Planning Sheet , a printable PDF that comic creators can use to draft and revise their work before creating and printing their final comics. After completing their comic, students have the ability to print out and illustrate their final versions for feedback and assessment.

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ESL Expat - Resources for Teaching English Abroad

Comic Strips ESL Writing Activity

Creating dialog for comics is a fun way for students to spark some creativity and improve their writing skills. This comic strips ESL activity can be done with any popular comic strip that you can find online and edit accordingly for your students’ levels.

Student Level: Beginner , Intermediate , Advanced

Age Group: Kids , Adults

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Comic Strips ESL Activity Preparation:

Browse the web for popular comic strips. There are a number of websites that have PDF versions of comics or newspapers that include them in their online publications. Find one that is appropriate for your students’ tastes and print it out to prepare. Select a variety of different ones depending on how much time you want to spend doing the activity in class.

With the printed copy, take some white-out and remove all of the text from the comic strip. Blank out everything that the characters say and any other text that appears on the comic strip.

In advance, photocopy the edited comic strip for as many students that you have in the class. It should appear so that all of the dialog “bubbles” are completely blank so that the students can write their own dialog ideas inside.

Comic Strips ESL Activity Guidelines:

At the start of class, introduce the activity with a discussion about popular comic book characters. The conversations should be narrowed down to the type of comics that you have selected.

For example, if it’s about superhero characters, try to get the students talking about classic characters like Batman, Superman, and Iron Man etc.

Hand out the “blank” versions of the same comic strip, then tell them to write alternative dialog for the scene. Give an example of what they could write in the first scene of the comic strip so they have an idea of what to do. Then, have them write dialog in the remaining blanks with a partner or group.

Assign a time to complete the task. Depending on the length of the comic, it should probably take five to ten minutes. Encourage them to be as creative and as funny as they can be. The best dialog will be voted on at the end of the activity.

Next, once every group has completed their comic strip, have them each role play what they created in front of the class.

Give some feedback. Correct any errors that they may have made. You could give a 5-star rating on the board for each group when they have finished presenting.

Finally, when the comic strips writing activity has been completed, you can show the class the original comic strip to see how theirs compares to it.

Follow-Up ESL Activities:

Time permitting, hand out another comic strip and have the class complete the second one doing the same writing task. Optionally, you could also finish up by having each group create their own customized comic strip with their own drawings and dialog.

If you want to end the class with a fun activity, try the Mystery Word Game in our vocabulary games section.

More ESL Writing Activities for Kids and Adults:

  • Three-Word Stories
  • Running Dictation
  • Family Tree
  • Christmas Story
  • The Cube Test
  • Daily Diary
  • Movie Subtitles
  • Five Senses
  • News Report

View the writing activities archive .

View more ESL activities .

View this activity on ESL Expat’s YouTube Channel:

Related ESL Resources Online:

  • Comic Stip Starters on MakeBeliefsComix.com

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Flickr user Gonzalo Díaz Fornaro, Creative Commons

  • Visual Arts
  • Drawing & Painting

Creating Comic Strips How can you weave together words and pictures in a comic strip to create a nonfiction story?

In this 3-5 lesson, students will examine comic strips as a form of fiction and nonfiction communication. Students will create original comic strips to convey mathematical concepts.

Get Printable Version   Copy to Google Drive

Lesson Content

  • Preparation
  • Instruction

Learning Objectives

Students will: 

  • Analyze the evolution of comic strips using the familiar Peanuts comic strips and other comic strips.
  • Explore comic strips from the perspective of a story (setting, characters, plot).
  • Evaluate comic strips by looking at words, pictures, and how they work together.
  • Create an original comic strip to convey mathematical information.
  • Share original comic strips with younger students as a reference tool.

Standards Alignment

National Core Arts Standards National Core Arts Standards

VA:Cr1.2.3a Apply knowledge of available resources, tools, and technologies to investigate personal ideas through the art-making process.

VA:Cr1.2.4a Collaboratively set goals and create artwork that is meaningful and has purpose to the makers.

VA:Cr1.2.5a Identify and demonstrate diverse methods of artistic investigation to choose an approach for beginning a work of art.

Common Core State Standards Common Core State Standards

ELA-LITERACY.W.3.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

ELA-LITERACY.W.4.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

ELA-LITERACY.W.5.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

MATH.CONTENT.3.MD.A.2 Measure and estimate liquid volumes and masses of objects using standard units of grams (g), kilograms (kg), and liters (l).1 Add, subtract, multiply, or divide to solve one-step word problems involving masses or volumes that are given in the same units, e.g., by using drawings (such as a beaker with a measurement scale) to represent the problem.

MATH.CONTENT.4.MD.A.1 Know relative sizes of measurement units within one system of units including km, m, cm; kg, g; lb, oz.; l, ml; hr, min, sec. Within a single system of measurement, express measurements in a larger unit in terms of a smaller unit. Record measurement equivalents in a two-column table.

MATH.CONTENT.5.MD.A.1 Convert among different-sized standard measurement units within a given measurement system (e.g., convert 5 cm to 0.05 m), and use these conversions in solving multi-step, real world problems.

Recommended Student Materials

Editable Documents : Before sharing these resources with students, you must first save them to your Google account by opening them, and selecting “Make a copy” from the File menu. Check out Sharing Tips or Instructional Benefits when implementing Google Docs and Google Slides with students.

  • Comic Strip Template  
  • Snoopy in Space
  • Peanuts Motion Comics: Independence Day
  • Early Peanuts Comics Strips
  • Make Beliefs Comix
  • Digital Storyboard Maker

Additional Materials

  • Pencils, fine-tip markers or pens

Teacher Background  

Teachers should review the lesson and standards. Math standards are suggested but not limited to the ones listed. Visit CCSS Math Standards for more information. Review the book, Comic Strips: Create Your Own Comic Strips from Start to Finish by Art Roche. Select a video from the  Peanuts Collection or Snoopy Collection (example:  Peanuts Independence Day ). Exploring the following resources is also helpful prior to teaching the lesson: Early Peanuts Comics Strips (1950-1968), age-appropriate comic strips , an example Math Comic Strip , the history   of comic strips, and parts of a story.

Student Prerequisites  

Students should be familiar with grade-level math and parts of a story (setting, characters, plot).

Accessibility Notes

Adapt math materials as needed and allow extra time for task completion.

  • Show a Peanuts comic strip video, such as Snoopy in Space or Peanuts Motion Comics: Independence Da y . 
  • Prompt a class discussion with the following questions: Is this fiction or nonfiction? (It is creative nonfiction, using fictional characters to share factual information.) Who is familiar with the Peanuts characters? What other Peanuts shows have you seen? What story elements do you recognize? What is the goal of the production? What art technique is used to produce this video?

Build  

  • Explore the evolution of Early Peanuts Comics (1950-1968). Ask students: What similarities and differences do you notice about the comic strips? How many frames are used in each strip? What role does color play in creating these comic strips? Who created these comic strips? (Introduce the creator, Charles Schultz, to the class.)
  • Discuss the history of comic strips. Share that comic strips have been used as a communications tool for over 100 years and the first successful daily comic strip was Mutt and Jeff , which started in 1907. Comic strips are used to tell a story. They have three main parts of a story: s etting,  characters, and plot . Comic strips use words and pictures equally. Comic strips use a series of frames to show story movement.
  • Explore age-appropriate comic strips . Have students work either independently, in groups, or as a class to explore other comic strips. Examine each comic strip for parts of a story, the use of words and pictures, and the number of frames used.
  • Discuss the use of comic strips to convey factual information. Ask students: What factual information was shared in the comic strips or video we watched? What other factual information can be shared using a comic strip? Why would a comic strip creator want to share nonfiction information in this format?
  • Create original comic strips using the Comic Strip Template or digital comic strips with sites like Make Beliefs Comix , Pixton , or Digital Storyboard Maker . Have each student create a 4-frame comic strip to convey a math concept. Model a math concept, then assign a math concept (learned or reinforced in the student’s previous grade) to each student. Using the three parts of a story, have each student create a comic strip to share the math concept. Have the student first work in pencil (drawing lightly). Review each comic strip draft for accuracy. Once approved, ask the student to “ink” the strip using a permanent fine tip marker. Erase any remaining pencil marks. Each student should title (top line) and sign (bottom line) the strip.
  • Create a “Math by Comic Strip” book. Compile all comic strips into a single book. (You may want to create two books: one to share and one to keep as a classroom.)

Reflect  

  • Share the “Math by Comic Strip” book with students in the previous grade. Have each student present their comic strip to another student or the class. 
  • Assess students’ knowledge with one of the following writing or discussion prompts: What were students able to learn about math from reading your comic strip? How did your words and pictures work together to create a math story? What story elements were present in your comic strip? Who would the audience for your book be?
  • Compare and contrast a classic novel and a classic graphic, such as Tales from the Brothers Grimm and Treasure Island , or a nonfiction graphic novels, such as Greek and Roman Mythology .

Original Writer

Carol Parenzan

JoDee Scissors

October 29, 2021

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De Vinck: Comic strips add humor, stability to a crazy world

Looking back on lessons learned from charlie brown, dennis the menace and others.

Snoopy and Charlie Brown from Charles Schulz's timeless "Peanuts" comic strip in their...

By Christopher de Vinck

1:30 AM on May 11, 2024 CDT

comic strip english lesson

When I peek into the keyhole of my past, I see a small boy with a yellow shirt and his dog with a black nose. We all know this boy as Charlie Brown. I know him as a bit of stability in this unstable world.

Even though Charles Schultz, the creator of Peanuts , died in 2000, Charlie Brown, Lucy, Snoopy and the gang still play football, sell lemonade and challenge the Red Baron in our newspapers.

Hank Ketcham’s Dennis the Menace still taunts Mr. Wilson even though Ketcham died in 2001.

Even though Blondie , one of the oldest newspaper comic strips, was created in 1930 by Chic Young, sweet and smart Blondie still puts up with her clumsy, loving, naïve Dagwood.

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In 1954, the suburban couple Hi and Lois moved into the neighborhood of our newspapers under the creative imaginations of Morton Walker, who died in 2018, and Dik Browne, who died in 1989.

Because of syndication rights and family privileges, the comic strips of my youth still appear in many papers and still keep me laughing with wisdom and charm, adding a silver of stability to life.

I wonder if the gang would tell our politicians today that, even though Lucy keeps preventing Charlie Brown from kicking that football, we have to keep trying to score field goals with our social divisions.

Dennis the Menace would make for a good opposition leader using his mischievous wisdom to taunt those who lie. Hi and Lois might suggest that there is still hope for the American dream: owning a house, and sending their kids to stable schools. Even Blondie and Dagwood might still guide us on how to get along in our relationships that are filled with contradictions and love.

Newspapers are fluid enterprises. The news changes every day. The weather changes every day. Each day the front page startles us because of a new slant on greed, or an unexpected victory on the ball field. But day after day, week after week, the same little people move from left to right in their little panels, offering us those small slivers of humor, drama, and delight that wait for us no matter how discouraged we are.

Wherever we can find valuable stability in our lives, no matter how small, it is helpful to our souls.

I was forbidden to read comic books as a kid because my parents thought they were a waste of time, so I saved my allowance and often secretly bought Superman and Batman comic books down at the sweetshop, and rummaged through my neighbor’s garbage cans hunting for their discarded newspapers where I salvaged Marmaduke and Archie for my private entertainment.

One of my favorite Charlie Brown comic strips was published in 1990. Charlie Brown and Linus are on their way to school, and Charlie Brown points out a girl, telling Linus, “She’s cute, isn’t she?” As they enter the bus, Linus wisely says “Cute isn’t everything, Charlie Brown.” Once the two are seated, Linus adds, “I fall in love with any girl who smells like library paste.”

I like that Charlie Brown, Hi and Lois, and Dennis are still there helping to carry us through the often humorless days.

We welcome your thoughts in a letter to the editor. See the guidelines and submit your letter here . If you have problems with the form, you can submit via email at [email protected]

Christopher de Vinck

Christopher de Vinck , Contributing Columnist . Christopher de Vinck’s novel Ashes, is based on his mother’s experiences under Nazi occupation in Belgium. He is a contributing columnist for The Dallas Morning News.

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  21. Creating Comic Strips

    Creating Comic Strips. How can you weave together words and pictures in a comic strip to create a nonfiction story? In this 3-5 lesson, students will examine comic strips as a form of fiction and nonfiction communication. Students will create original comic strips to convey mathematical concepts. Get Printable Version Copy to Google Drive.

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