Cardiff Metropolitan University

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Investigation into the impact of the utilisation of comics on students' acquisition of literacy skills.

posted on 2022-10-27, 16:17 authored by Paul Warren
The aim of this research study explores whether teachers can make practical and effective use of comics as a resource to aid students’ learning. The report details the development of an action research project that adopted a mixed methods approach to produce a set of findings alongside a subsequent evaluation that has the potential to contribute to wider professional practice. The study acknowledges limits around generalisability but suggests what would be required for transferability to other school contexts.
A literature review, in conjunction with interviews, contributed to a series of lessons that used comics as a device to teach specific literacy skills to students aged between seven to eleven. Data were collected using observation and scrutiny of students’ work.
Findings indicated that, when used effectively, comics have the capacity to improve engagement amongst students who can lack motivation to learn. This may be due to dual-coding representation on the comic page, the use of bright colours and the emphasis on narratives involving action or humour.
In addition, the report details how participants incorporated the use of comics within existing teaching strategies. Reading with expression, performance using playscripts, the accurate use of speech marks and the quality of written description were some of the literacy skills that appeared to be taught effectively to students. The research study is not intended to provide an exhaustive list but, instead, explore how skills can be taught using this medium.
However, the study also explores the absence of teachers’ own personal knowledge and professional experience of this medium. Professional learning was a prerequisite at various stages of the action research cycle to support the planning and delivery of lessons. This included advice in the selection of comics to avoid inappropriate themes of sexual imagery or violence. Teachers were also guided to choose accessible comics without complicated narratives. Furthermore, the pilot project was also an integral phase that provided teachers further support and practical ideas. However, the report also acknowledges that comics will only impact on the acquisition of literacy skills when integrated within effective pedagogical practice.



  • School of Education and Social Policy

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD

Publication year