Comic Strips as Book Reports

This month's edition of The Reading Teacher, a publication of the International Reading Association, suggests using comic strips as an alternative to book reports.  The article provides excellent suggestions for older students and a link to an online comic strip generator ( 

It seems that this could be an excellent alternative for book reports and could easily be adaptable to younger students and to a paper-pencil format.  While the article suggests a 6-panel comic, I would recommend 3-4 panels for younger students.  In this format, the student could use the first panel to show what happened at the beginning of the story, the middle panel (or two) to show what happened in the middle of the story, and the final panel to show how the story ended.  This not only reinforces the concepts of beginning, middle and end, but also reinforces left-right progression.

The panels could be as simple or as elaborate as the student would like to make it.  They can be  visual complex for those students who like to draw or quite simple for those students, who like me, would be regulated to stick figures.  They can contain as much text as the student would like to provide.  

Having a chance to create a comic strip rather than having to sit down and write a book report, would be much more motivating for many students.  Additionally, it gives those students who have a difficult time expressing themselves in writing the opportunity to demonstrate what they know without having to generate too much text.

A comic strip is very easy to create in Microsoft Excel.  I have one, but cannot link it to this blog.  If you would like it, pop me an email and I'll send it to you.


(2012), Using Comic Strips as a Book Report Alternative. The Reading Teacher, 66: 149–151. doi: 10.1002/TRTR.01114