4 Super Reasons to Use Comics in Speech-Language Therapy

4 Super Reasons for SLPs to Use Comics- Looks-Like-Language
Have you ever used comic strips in your speech/language therapy sessions? You should!  Yes, you really should, and here are 4 super reasons why!

1. It is so much fun!
Face it, we all have our own styles and it is easy to get stuck in a rut based on what is comfortable for us. Maybe you are naturally funny and won’t need this particular reason. (But keep reading- one of the other reasons will work!) I am not naturally funny if you are over the age of 5, so I need some extra help sometimes. Comics can be a change of pace that lighten the mood.

2. The language of humor is complex!
Often humor is based upon plays on words, changed stress patterns, and nonliteral meanings versus the literal picture. Some of our students, especially ones with learning disabilities or on the autism spectrum, need some extra help to understand humor.

3. You can work on so many goals!
Let’s see….
Articulation students can write and then read the text or explain the joke using their target sounds, or carryover the use of their speech sound in conversation during the activity.
Phonological awareness is addressed as so many comic strips are funny because of changes in sound, spelling and stress that lead to ambiguity. Check out the comic below from one of my favorites- The Argyle Sweater by Scott Hilburn.
For language, you can work on following directions to use the site, sequencing, narrative structures, sentence formation, answering questions, making inferences, understanding figurative language, comprehending multiple meanings and non-literal language, problem solving a social scenario, facial expression, and showing different points of view in the characters’ statements, to name a few.
4. I’m giving you links to sites which will make it easy!
This is my favorite site for finding comics to print and use in therapy. Of course, you could keep a list of links to pull up on your computer and go the paperless route, too!

If your students are into superheroes, this may be the site you want!

My favorite site for making comics in therapy! It is free, easy to use, lets you save and print, and is adding additional choices all the time.

This may be my new fave, as I was looking for activities to supplement work on facial expressions, body language and character traits. This site can do regular cartoons, but check out the option called TraitR, too! You do need to sign up, but there’s a free option.

The free version of this site has more sophisticated characters and themes, letting you make more choices in the graphics being used.

This comic creator is more basic and in black and white, but it can be a great place to start for younger kids, or if your school won’t let you access the other sites.

So, have I convinced you that it is worth giving comics a try? If my 4 super reasons didn’t do the trick, here is a link to a more scholarly argument: 

Like the idea but need some more in-depth help? Take a look at Cartoon Cut-Ups: Teaching Figurative Language and Humor by Jean HamerskyAlso try Cecile Cyrul Spector’s books: Sounds Like Fun: Activities for Developing Phonological Awareness and As Far as Words Go: Activities for Understanding Ambiguous Language and Humor.

I hope you have some fun with comics this year!

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