Learning English through Comics?

I read comics as a kid and really miss them these days. So, I was really pleased to see an application on the PSP that allows users to download comics and read them in a user friendly way.

This led me to think about how comics could be used in the English language classroom,  viewed on either a computer screen, a PSP, a DSi or even a mobile phone. Since there are loads of places where you can download interesting comics for free (see blow) the

What can comics offer?

Bright, interesting and full of action, the comic brings the written word to life. There are loads of different stories, characters and settings so students will be able to find something they want to read. Reading comics is not always as taxing as reading normally, you have pictures to look at and can follow the story through them.

Activites you could do with comics

Anything you can do with written text, you can do with comics. In digital format they are simple to download, display and manipulate.

– get students to read them as homework and answer some questions

– ask students to read the first part of a story and then guess or write the ending.

– blank out some of the words and ask students to fill them in. This easy to make if you download the page from the comic and save it on your computer as a picture file. You can then play with the image using a free editor like microsoft paint or the brilliant free program from www.paint.net

Some possible negatives

– not everyone likes comics and some students might see reading comics as a game and not at all serious.

– some of the comics you can download contain a large amount of violence and sometimes sex, this isn’t appropriate for many students and teachers need to be careful about what they ask students to read.

Free places to read comics on the net

http://www.esoluk.co.uk/digibooks/ ESOL UK uses some great comics called digi-books to teach English.

www.scribd.com  – some great free comics from this free publishing website

http://www.lorencollins.net/freecomic/ – mega collection of free comics

http://www.eviltwincomics.com/ap.html – life stories of great philosophers told through comics

http://www.dccomics.com/dccomics/ – the home of comic publishing titans DC

http://www.dccomics.com/dcu/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/power_girl&p=3 short introductions to all DC heros and villans.

http://comics.com/ loads of comics here