Graphic stories and comics – bridging visual literacy and meaning making

“Create a movie in your head of what you’re reading.” Sometimes that just takes twists and turns that we don’t expect.  Giving freedom to allow the imagination to roam will open up incredible doors to a whole new world.  We used to think comics was ‘not real reading’.  Well no more!  Graphic novels or comics provide an avenue to explore the genres and critically challenge the world.  Better yet, it does it in an environment for those visual thinkers who see the world in pictures.  Imagine incorporating this element into your literacy program. 

The following shows how intermediate students took a novel and created a comic of their responses. It involved several steps but basically took the key elements, imported it to Comic Life, added background music and later did an audio overlay.  This example was the beginning stages without the audio. The audio was an interesting twist as it focused on thoughts and feelings throughout each panel.  Comic Life allows for downloaded images, photos, or drawings.  As well, a huge bank of templates (from traditional comic style to manga) are provided for student use.  It also has a feature that will export the comic in a variety of formats (book, webpage, single page images..) so you have flexibility in representation. 


 We’re very excited to announce that COMIC LIFE is available for all elementary schools.  (Secondary – let’s talk about some options.) Consider how this program might support conversations in fiction, non-fiction content areas (science, social studies, social responsibility, personal planning).  A workshop series to support teachers is set for this year (* Register on Staff Development Calendar).  You can also download the trial 30 day copy from to test it out at home.  Email me for further information on how this new tool can extend and support differentiation.


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