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Pre-reading - Using wordless comics to teach using picture cues to create meaning in reading

Section One: Project/Lesson Overview
Grade: 1-2
Subject: Language Arts
Lesson Title: Pre-reading: Using wordless comics to help create meaning in reading

Lesson Description: Pre-reading: Using a wordless comic, students will learn to use picture cues as a tool in order to create meaning along with text. This is a simple lesson that can be used as a whole class or small group reinforcement for using picture cues to aid in reading.

Time Required: one class, or as several mini lessons

Specific Curriculum Outcomes: Using Picture Cues

-Students will be expected to select, read and view with understanding a range of literature, information, media, and visual texts.

-Use meaning cues (personal experiences, context, picture cues ) to predict, confirm/ self correct

-Use a variety of strategies to create meaning

- identify main idea
- predict content using text information along with personal knowledge and experiences
- make inferences by drawing on their own experiences and clues in the text
- identify character traits from contextual clues
- make connections between texts, noticing similarities in characters, events, illustrations, and language
- follow written directions

-Recognize different emotions and empathize with literary characters

Section Two: Project/Lesson Implementation

Equipment/Materials Required : Computer and a computer projector. Internet. A Big Book just above the reading level of the students. Chalk board/ white board/ or chart paper.

Link for Owly: Splashin' Around : http://www.andyrunton.com/comics.html

The Lesson

-The teacher may want to use the class reading groups for this lesson (probably best if doing the Owly book a little at a time) or the teacher may want to keep the class together for the lesson (probably best if doing the whole Owly book at once).

The teacher will set up a computer projector (In-Focus machine) in the classroom or computer lab and bring up Owly: Splashin' Around (from the above website).

The teacher will ask the students to describe what they see on the cover and discuss what they think the story might be about.

The teacher and students will read each page: summarizing what is occurring in each panel; pointing out the emotions of the characters; describing what the symbols that are used in place of words mean.

After the story (or portion of the story) is completed, the teacher will gather the students around him/her to discuss what is seen in the picture on a page of a Big Book that is just above the reading level of the students.

The students will describe what they see.

The teacher will write down the words

The students will be asked to read the text on the page.

The students will then see how many words they came up with that were on the page and in the text.

The students will see how many of the more difficult words they came up with just by using the pictures.

Section 3: EXTENSIONS - Writing / Speaking and Listening:

The students could each be assigned a page that they would be responsible for summarizing. When completed the students could read their summaries as the teacher projects each page for all the students to see.

Suggested Assessment Strategies:

•  In small group or individual reading sessions the teacher will note if the students use picture cues to aid in their reading.

Section Three: Project/Lesson Resources

Web-Based Resources: http://www.andyrunton.com/comics.html ,


Disclaimer: The recommended web-resources included here have been scrutinized for their grade and age appropriateness; however, contents on links on the Internet change continuously. It is advisable that teachers preview all links before recommending them to students.

Section Four: Additional Information

Modifications: This lesson can be broken up into a number of smaller mini-lessons. Perhaps as a lesson every day of one week to begin the independent reading time.


Additional Comments: The Owly stories are even challenging for students that are reading well above their peers. It is a leveling book struggling readers may get the hang of it quicker, depending on where their strengths / intelligences are.

By Scott Tingley

Any questions or comments, contact me at comicsintheclassroom @ gmail.com


Contents on links on the Internet change continuously. It is advisable that teachers and parents preview all links before recommending them to children.

The prior copyright notice was in error. The correct copyright notification is Comics in the Classroom, (C) Scott Tingley 2007 All rights reserved.

Comics in the Classroom and the Comics in the Classroom logo are trademarks TM of Scott Tingley 2007