Before reading the classics, I encouraged students to bring in a comic book to read in class. I also brought extras for those who didn’t have any or forgot to bring them. I gave some class time to read the comics and then we discussed the common things that each comic book had that made them so appealing. This was a great way to introduce the lesson of reading a comic classic.
After reading comic classics, I encouraged the class to write their own comic story which took about a week. Students would first write their story for a foundation and then draw the comic book pages to go with the story. The story was proofread and corrected before the illustrations were made. Then we made book covers using cardboard and actually bound them with yarn. I allowed my lowest level students to pair up with higher level students because they each had their own strengths and this was actually discussed before the pairing was allowed. I asked each of the students to think about their strengths and try to pair up with someone who complemented their weakness. I was amazed at how well the students paired themselves up this way. I gave them an actual timeline of tasks they needed to complete each class period which helped them stay on task.
After all the books were completed, I had the students exchange the books to read. Then each group had to write 5 things they like about the book they read, the main idea of the story, and then propose a different ending. The students loved this also.
From their responses, I felt using comics in my class was a great success.
Here is a great New York Times article: Superman Finds New Fans Among Reading Instructors