Comic books are complicated and becoming more complicated pieces of literature not only in the plot, story and characters, but also in the reading strategies necessary to understand and enjoy them.
TEACHING READING STRATEGIES
UNDERSTANDING CODES AND CONVENTIONS OF COMICS:
Have students look in comics to find examples of codes and conventions that are different than what they would find in more conventional texts. This activity will help students realize that comics draw on commonly understood meanings to communicate. Have them try to illustrate some concepts (heat, cold, surprise, etc.), with their own ideas.
Because comics are such a highly visual medium it is easy to find examples of symbolism. Students can explore the use of symbolism in comics. What is its purpose? Why is it used?
Students can experiment with their own use of sound effects in a comic panel or strip by producing the same event or scene with or without sound effects. Students identify the way sound is depicted in a graphic novel or comic strip and consider how it contributes to the meaning. Students can create a dictionary of comic book words that represent different sound effects. Check out Ka-Boom! A Dictionary of Comic Book Words, Symbols & Onomatopoeia by Kevin J. Taylor.
UNDERTANDING NARRATIVE STRUCTURE:
Critical Literacy views readers as active participants in the reading process and invites them to move beyond passively accepting a text’s message to question, examine or dispute the power relations that exist between readers and authors. It focuses on issues of power and promotes reflection, transformation, and action.
TEACHING CRITICAL LITERACY:
LITERACY TODAY, IS UNDERSTANDING THE WORD AND THE WORLD.
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