Use Comics To Teach Direct Speech

We had such fun creating dynamic comic strip stories for our Solar System studies.

Solar System Jupiter 002Because comics convey loads of information and visual detail, they are a wonderful resource for language arts and creative writing activities.

Most the comics include dialogue written in speech bubbles.

This led to a fabulous LA lesson on writing direct speech ~

We used our literature read aloud books to find examples of direct speech and together formulated our simple direct speech rules.

  • Write down the spoken words or dialogue that appear in speech bubbles exactly  as they appear, but inside inverted commas.
  • Use inverted commas or quotation marks “…”  immediately before and after the spoken words.
  • Insert punctuation marks that suit the dialogue after the dialogue inside the inverted commas.
  • Use capital letters to start any dialogue, or any new dialogue that follows a full stop.
  • Question marks  & exclamation marks act as a full stop.
  • Use an appropriate attribution for each speaker and try be creative and vary using the word “said”.
  • Separate dialogue from the attribution with a comma.
  • ALWAYS skip a line and start a new line for a new speaker.

Then we took a block from the comic with speech bubbles and discussed and wrote out the direct speech on our white board.  My daughter loves to be dramatic, and so she instantly used a variety of words other than “said”, but you may want to discuss other more creative words.  We looked through this list ~

RIP said is dead

Comic blocks with a lot of visual information needs to be described in words. Adding this to the direct speech, and conveying a flow of action, thought and interest to the written dialogue is a more advanced skill. The more advanced student will automatically interpret and describe the comic strip blocks to make a wonderful, interesting story.

Here is an extract of Lara’s direct speech based on the comic strip above ~

Direct Speech example

My daughter was so enthusiastic and was really proud of her first effort!

When typing the direct speech on the computer, she reinforced her typing skills as well as the technical aspects of the written direct speech.  When she had completed her first draft, I noticed that she hadn’t left a line open between different speakers.  When typing, she needed to press ‘enter’ + ‘enter’ again to leave a line open and begin on a new line.

Normally we use our literature books and copywork or dictations for all our language arts, but this approach was fresh, personal and exciting!  Using a previous lesson that was very successful and fun,  really motivated the content of this lesson and it worked brilliantly!


2 thoughts on “Use Comics To Teach Direct Speech

  1. Pingback: Use Comics to Teach Reported Speech | Practical Pages

  2. Lovely idea! My daughter loves doing comics. I think I may try this with my kids to change things up from the usual.

    I just thought I’d pop in my two cents worth for anyone who may be a serious fiction writer – kid or adult. “Said” is actually preferred by publishers to flowery dialogue tags. Even more preferable is using an action to show who spoke. Or sometimes, in a few lines of speech, dialogue tags can be left out altogether. This is a rough example:

    “We left the stragglers behind. We’d better wait for them.” Donald stopped, bent down, and retied his shoelace.
    “It’s their fault they’re so slow. Why should we wait? This hike is boring enough already.” Kyle kicked a stone down the hill and scowled.
    Donald sat up and gazed pointedly at his assistant. “You’re only thinking of yourself. As a good Scouts patrol leader, we should take care of others. Wait! There they are.” He waved at the group coming around a hill.
    “I’m going.” Kyle marched ahead.
    “Are you trying to avoid someone?”
    Kyle craned his head back. “What do you think?”
    Donald had a sneaky suspicion Kyle’d had another disagreement with James. Oh, the joys of making sure everyone in his patrol got on.


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