Comics for the Classroom

Resources to Support Teaching with Comics

Free Comic Book Day: What is it?

5 Reasons Your Students Should Be Reading Comic Books

Literacy is a complicated concept. What literacy includes seems to widen and envelop more each year. We are required to read, interpret, and understand many different genres of communication. One thing is clear though–the more we read the more we understand.

Each year, the number of students who claim to hate reading seems to increase. These same students spend countless hours playing video games and reading comics – not realizing how much those two activities are actually contributing to their background knowledge, and directly/indirectly their ability as readers.

Comic books, or some refer to them as graphic novels, are an underrated resource for developing literacy. Here are five reasons why students should be reading comics to improve their reading skills.

1. Comics are high interest pieces.

2. Comics incorporate so many elements of fiction in short pieces.

3. Comics come in many different genres.

4. Comics are like the Twitter of novels.

5. Comics also serve as a connection to history.


What's the Difference in a Comic Book and a Graphic Novel?

Comic Books

  • A standard comic book usually includes the beginning, middle or end of a story, so a person typically cannot read or buy just one to learn the whole plot or discover the characters.
  • A comic runs about 21 to 24 pages. Most take only 10 to 30 minutes to read, making them great for filling short periods of free time.
  • Comic books are periodicals, typically printed on magazine-style paper and simply bound with staples.
  • Comics will generally have numerous advertisements.
  • Generally geared toward teens and children.

Graphic Novels

  • A graphic novel tends to cover one story in its entirety. If writers and artists decide to create a sequel, they design it as a new, complete story with a beginning, middle and end.
  • Graphic novels can be three to six times as long, with anywhere from 60 to 120 pages, but a person usually still can finish one in a single sitting.
  • Graphic novels, on the other hand, can sometimes be found in hardback, although this is less common than paperback versions. Paperback covers are usually thick and glossy and the novels are bound like other, more traditional books.
  • Graphic novels generally have little to no ads.
  • Generally geared toward adults.

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Best Comic Books for the Elementary School Classroom

According the Open Education blog, the best comic books for elementary-aged school children are:

  1. Jeff Smith's "Bone" series
  2. Chris Wilson's "Beowulf"
  3. Chris Wilson's "Amelia Rules"
  4. "Clan Apis" series
  5. "Alison Dare" series
These series present kid-friendly storylines in addition to be thought-provoking discussion tools. Marvel Comics also issues a kid-friendly series called Marvel Adventures, which is always sure to be PG-rated.

You can also download a copy of PBS's "Nature" Comic book, or request free copies for your classroom for a more science-themed series.

Where Do I Find Free Comics?


5526 Bosque Blvd.

Waco, TX, 76710

(254) 772-6687

Store ID: 9069


1321 S. Valley Mills Drive

Waco, TX, 76711

(254) 755-0070

Store ID: 814