Comics for Engaging Students! 24+ Resources & Ideas

“At a young age, I was interested in comic books, which was really how I learnt to read.” – Nicolas Cage

Today, I will be conducting a webinar, Teaching with Comics, for Simple K12. I wanted to share the resources from the presentation in case you can’t join us. Comics can be powerful learning tools. They are brain friendly. The visuals help support struggling readers and language learners. The frames break up the reading into chunks and students can get a general understanding about the plot, subject matter, characters and themes from the visuals. Many comic creation tools are free, easy to use and allow learners to choose from a library of characters, props, scenes, speech bubbles, and templates. Your learners will be able to quickly create a story, view it, and share it. Creating comics engages students and encourages them to explore vocabulary, summarize information, and contextualize what they learn in a creative way. Download the slides and bookmark the following tips and resources. Don’t forget to join me for a free online technology learning day with other experts. Register for free!

Enjoyed these ideas? Get your copy of Learning to Go and The 30 Goals for Teachers.

Students can do the following with their comics:

  • Retell a historical event
  • Write dialogues
  • Summarize readings
  • Create the setting and situation appropriate for idioms and phrases
  • Post an interview
  • Explore societal issues
  • Explore the language in jokes
  • Explore political issues
  • Introduce themselves to their peers
  • Show how to accomplish a goal
  • Explore the meaning behind quotes
  • Give visual instructions- is full of great instructional comics
  • Highlight the rules
  • Create a context for math word problems
  • Tell the news
  • Explore various definitions of a word
  • Visualize research

Learn with Comics

  • Word Origins– Learn about different phrases and idioms with this comic.
  • HowToons– Instructional comics for learning. Learn how to do things.
  • Zen Pencils– Comics about famous people, quotes, and fables.
  • Kids Comics– Search engine to find safe comics for learning.
  • Comixology– Free comics to download on your Kindle, ereader or read online.
  • Periodic Table of Comics– Click on an element to see a list of comic book pages involving that element.
  • Grammarman Comics– Learn grammar with the videos and comics.
  • Unflattening– Research from Nick Sousanis in comic form.

Comic Creation Tools and Apps

  • Make Beliefs Comix– Web site to create comics and an iPad app. Create two, three and four panel comics in multiple languages. Also find 350+ free printables for teachers.
  • Play Comic– A web site in both Spanish and English to walk you through learning with comic games and a creator.
  • ToonDoo – The site allows students to share their comics, comment on other comics, and even save and edit a copy of a comic.
  • Comics Head– iOS and Android app to make comics. Students add their own images or can choose from their library of characters, backdrops, and speech bubbles. Students can draw in the comic. With the paid version, students record their voice for each panel.
  • Friendstrip– iOS and Android app to make comics. Frames set and students can fill in the story.
  • Pixton– on the web and an iOS and Android app to create comics. Has a library of characters, frames, and backgrounds.
  • Book Creator– iOS and Android app to create digital books, including comic books.
  • Creaza– Create comics, make movies, edit audio, and more! Embed in a blog or wiki.
  • Bubblr– Create your comic strip with Flickr pictures and add bubbles to tell your story!
  • Bitstrips– Free to create comics with friends and on Facebook. Offers a 30-day free trial for the education version.
  • Marvel– Create comic strips and books with Marvel characters.
  • Write Comics– Simple comic creation tool.
  • Witty Comics– Great for political cartoons. Simple and easy to use. No registration required.
  • Garfield– You can create comic strips or books with Garfield characters.
  • Phrase It– Add speech bubbles to pictures.
  • StoryBoardThat– Create comics or storyboards.

Challenge: Try one of these resources to engage learners with comics!

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics.


Comics for Learning, by shellyterrell

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell),, and on her blog,, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at


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