Where Words and Pictures Party

Teaching Them to Write

Added on by Jon O.

As a comic creator I love books with pictures in them.  I read them all the time, and my favorite stories of all time have at the very least been illustrated, and quite often been comics (the prose has all been adapted to sequential art as well, but my digression is spiralling out of control).  The long point being made is I love stories with drawings, but I need my kids to stop drawing when they're supposed to be writing.

Another teacher's student really idolizes the fact that I make comic books.  He wants to make comics during his writing too, but this is always a series of pictures with no practice getting letters into words or words into ideas.  I know this can be a good tool to aid in formulating logical progression within a story, and I use comic "storyboards" as a prewriting exercise when I've taught older students.  In first grade, however, we need practice writing words.  I told him to come see this morning so I could show him all the words that were involved in making comic books.


I showed him the well over one hundred page script for 3rd World.  We flipped through a couple pages quietly and then he spoke.  "That's a lot of words."  

I pointed to a line on the page.  "Everything that I'm going to draw has to be written down first, so that I can remember exactly what is supposed to happen."  I explained, "Then these other parts tell me what the character is going to say, and how they're going to say it."  We talked about how there weren't any pictures at all in the notebook, I wrote everything down first.  I confessed that sometimes I used pictures with the words when I was writing, but I wanted him to start with the words first.

It was a good lesson, and I think I'm going to give it to my entire class next week.

- Jon O