Read and Write Phonics Comics: Teaching with Decodable Passages Just Got More Fun!

What in the world are Phonics Comics? Phonics comics are comics that are written for students to be decodable so that they can practice their reading skills!

Once upon a time, when I was in college (a LONG time ago) whole language was the thing. Phonics was a dirty word. The main argument at that time was that decodable readers were contrived and boring. Think back to Dick and Jane. With the Science of Reading at the forefront of reading instruction today, decodables are back, but they can be so much more fun! So, get ready to rock your reading lessons with Phonics Comics!

Image of a student dressed like a super hero with Speech Bubble saying :"YES!"  Text: Teaching with Decodable Passages Just Got more fun with Phonics Comics!

Why Comics Work for Teaching Phonics

Comics are fun! They engage readers with their visual storytelling and short bursts of text. This makes comics an ideal tool for teaching phonics to young learners who may struggle to stay focused during longer lessons. Phonics comics are designed to help students practice phonics using words that they know, and words that they can easily “sound out” or decode. Students love to read and re-read the silly stories in the comics which leads to increased reading fluency and reading comprehension.

In addition to improving reading fluency, phonics comics can also help students improve their reading comprehension. The visual storytelling and use of context clues in comics can aid in students’ understanding of the text. The structure of comics, with their use of panels and “talking” bubbles, helps students develop critical thinking skills as they learn to read the images and words together to understand the story.

Phonics comics are a valuable tool for teaching phonics and improving reading skills in young learners. By incorporating comics into your phonics lessons, you can increase student engagement, improve reading fluency and comprehension, and make the learning experience more enjoyable for everyone involved. Keep reading to learn how to make the most of comics in your phonics classroom.,

Image of 3 different Phonics Comics: Dad is Mad!, The Bag, and Pam and Sam.

Using Phonics Comics for Decodable Readers

Phonics comics are a great addition to any phonics program because they provide a fun and engaging way for students to apply their phonics skills in context. Using phonics comics as decodable readers can be a game-changer for struggling readers because it allows them to practice their skills in a non-threatening and engaging way.

Phonics comics are great for small-group reading instruction, whole-group reading instruction, reading homework, ect. The advantage of using phonics comics as the primary reading material is that students are more likely to be engaged and motivated to read, which can increase their reading fluency and comprehension. They are also short, sweet, and to the point, easy to read and re-read, and to share with others.

Small Group Reading Lesson with Phonics Comics!

So, what does a lesson look like using Phonics Comics? There are so many ways that you could use these decodable passages, but here is an example of what a lesson would look like!

Image of the front and back sides of a Phonics Comic.  Text: At the Lab

Before Reading

Each Phonics Comic has a box at the top with the “sight words” (some call them “heart words” or “tricky words” words that aren’t necessarily decodable. Going over these words before reading the text is a great way to start. If there are any words that your students are having difficulty with, take a little time to map those words. Then, take some time to read the title and look over the comic together. Discuss the characters and what is happening in the comic without doing any reading. This will help the students when they go to read the text.

During Reading

Have the students quietly read the comic. You are listening in and giving assistance. Take note of any words that the students may be having trouble with. This is your observation time.

After Reading

When your students are done reading, ask questions about the text. Who are the characters? What is the problem? How does the problem get solved? Did the problem get solved? If the students are having trouble with the questions, go back and re-read the comic together.

Then, do a follow-up activity. There are so many activities that you could do with these, but they include a writing component to copy onto the back. At the top of the page, the students re-read to practice the sight words from the comic. Then, they circle the word to go with the picture and write the word on the line. This would be a good handwriting lesson if done together. Then, they either choose a word and write a sentence, or you can dictate a sentence for your students to write. Reminding them to use a capital and a period.

Have your student color the comic, re-read the comic with a partner, send it home to re-read with someone at home, and keep a copy in your reading center so students can re-read them during independent reading.

Images of acitivites to go with Phonics Comics!  Handwriting, and Phonics Picture Writing Prompt or Spelling Test Alternative.

Incorporating Phonics Comics into your reading instruction can transform the way your students learn to read. They can help improve comprehension, increase engagement, and make learning fun. By using phonics comics for decodable readers and focusing on improving reading fluency and comprehension, you can unlock the full potential of this powerful teaching tool. So why not try using Phonics Comics in your classroom today? As Charles M. Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, once said, “Comics are a gateway drug to literacy.” Let’s get our students hooked!

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Image of a student dressed like a super hero with Speech Bubble saying :"YES!" Text: Teaching with Decodable Passages Just Got more fun with Phonics Comics!

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