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Using Comic Strips to Teach the Use of Quotation Marks

Section One: Project/Lesson Overview

Grade: Transitional writers (grades 3-4)

Subject: Language Arts

Lesson Title: Using Comic Strips to Teach the Use of Quotation Marks

Lesson Description: To use comic strips and word balloons to teach when and why quotations are used.

Time Required: Two classes

Specific Curriculum Outcomes: For Transitional Readers – Grades 3-4  

-Students will be expected to use some conventions of written language: quotation marks (transitional readers – outcome 10, page 138 ATLANTIC CANADA ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS CURRICULUM: K–3).

-Engage students in meaningful talk in both small and large groups (e.g., shared reading ) (Transitional readers – ACELA Curriculum - outcome 2, page 56).

-Demonstrate writing in a variety of simple forms in the context of modelled and shared writing (e.g., newsletters to parents, thank-you letters to classroom guests, lists of classroom procedures, personal narratives, recipes, labels) (Emergent readers – ACELA Curriculum - outcome 9, page 106).

Section Two: Project/Lesson Implementation

Equipment/Materials Required : Lesson One : Overhead projector; a Big Book that contains examples of quotation marks; overhead of appropriate comic strip; different colour markers.

For lesson two : A blow up of a new comic strip using the same characters as the one used for lesson one. Be sure to include space (with lines) to write on.

For extension : A third blown up strip with text written underneath and words removed from word balloons.

Lesson Procedure s/Teaching Strategies:

Lesson one :

During Shared-Reading the teacher will read a big-book that contains plenty of examples of quotation marks.   The students are to point out every time they see an example of them.  

The teacher will chose a comic strip from the newspaper or internet and show a blow-up or overhead of chosen strip and give kids time to read it and figure out the joke.   Read it to them or give each part to a different child and have them read the parts in character.

The teacher will write the text of the cartoon underneath the displayed comic big enough for all the kids to read.   Be sure to leave a space between each statement and to leave enough room to include the said _____ part. (Text for a very unfunny comic has been created for demonstration purposes.)



[Text for cartoon]

What are you doing?

My mother told me I had to go outside

Okay, but what are you doing?

I'm watching TV through the window.


The teacher will read each line asking “Who said (or asked) that?”   The students will answer and the teacher will add this to the text.   Be sure to use a different colored marker for this part, or underline these new parts.


[Text for cartoon]

What are you doing? asked Tim .

My mother told me I had to go outside, said Sally .

Okay, but what are you doing? asked Tim .

I'm watching TV through the window, answered Sally .


The teacher will ask “Which parts did we get from the comic and which parts did we put in ourselves?”   Students will answer and teacher will put quotations around the parts from the comic.   Explain that it is these quotation marks that tell us someone is talking, just like the word balloons do in the cartoon.


[Text for cartoon]

“What are you doing?” asked Tim.

“My mother told me I had to go outside,” said Sally .

“Okay, but what are you doing?” asked Tim .

“I'm watching TV through the window,” answered Sally .


Lesson two:

The teacher will pair up the kids and give them a copy of the other comic strip (preferably one with the same characters as the one used for the whole class instruction in lesson one).   The teacher will ask the students to write the text on paper like we did with the other cartoon and put quotations around the appropriate text.   The teacher then asks   “Who said each part?” The teachers will then put in the said Sally , etc. parts.

The teacher will sum up by coming back together and reviewing the work, reinforcing that quotations work like word balloons.

Extension : The teacher can give the students comic strips with the text in the word balloons blanked out and that text written underneath with the quotations and the said ____ parts.   Have the kids properly insert the text into the balloons. This is a reversal of the main lesson.

Section Three: Project/Lesson Resources

Supplementary Resources:

Web-Based Resources: For possible strips you can go to: http://garfield.com , http://www.comics.com , http://www.snoopy.com ,

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.

Modifications: This lesson can be easily adapted to any grade level that needs a refresher course on when and where quotation marks are used.

Scott Tingley, comicsintheclassroom@gmail.com


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.

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