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Research Highlight: Teaching English Language Learners with Comics

by Tracy Edmunds

Comics are a powerful tool for teaching English as a second a language. This week we would like to draw your attention to three research items from the Reading With Pictures database explaining and supporting the use of comics in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) and with English Language Learners (ELL).


Effect of Comic Strips on L2 Learners’ Reading Comprehension

This article reports the results of an experiment investigating the role of comic strips on ESL learners’ reading comprehension. Results: The low-level students receiving the high-level text with the comic strip scored significantly higher than their counterparts receiving the high-level text only. Providing a comic strip with the high-level text did not enhance the high-level students’ recall. Includes pedagogical suggestions, discussion of results in light of various theories.

Note: see pages 225-243.

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Using Comic Books as Read-Alouds: Insights on Reading Instruction From an English as a Second Language Classroom

In this article, Jason Ranker presents the exciting ways in which an innovative teacher used comic books as read-aloud texts in order to scaffold her first grade students—all designated by the school district as English-language learners (ELLs)—as they learned new ways of reading and writing.

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Comics Aren’t Just For Fun Anymore: The Practical Use of Comics by TESOL Professionals

Masters Thesis by David Racine on the use of comics in TESOL. Each major section of this thesis contains a subsection of case studies from TESOL fieldwork, followed by an index of the things teachers should know and do to use the information in the section effectively.

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