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Bowkett, Steve. Using Comic Art to Improve Speaking, Reading and Writing: Kapow! London, New York: Routledge, 2011. 
Added by: joachim (3/23/11, 4:48 PM)   
Resource type: Book
Language: en: English
ID no. (ISBN etc.): 978-0-415-67550-5
BibTeX citation key: Bowkett2011
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Categories: General
Keywords: Didactics
Creators: Bowkett
Publisher: Routledge (London, New York)
Views: 55/830
Most children are visually very literate – they are able to ‘read’, understand and talk about pictures in a sophisticated and confident way. Yet at the same time low levels of literacy and a lack of motivation in reading and writing remain huge problems in the classroom.
Kapow! uses children’s interest in pictures, comics and graphic novels as a way of developing their creative writing abilities, reading skills and oracy. The book’s underpinning strategy is the use of comic art images as a visual analogue to help children generate, organise and refine their ideas when it comes to writing and talking about text. A comic book is as highly structured as a written story. It also contains as much information, although of course most of it is visual. The fact that children can read a comic or graphic novel at all means that they are making sense of a great deal of complex material: not only that, they are enjoying it too.
The activities in Kapow! start from this baseline of confident and competent comic-book readers and show them how skills they already possess can be transferred to a range of writing tasks. For instance, the way the panels on a comic’s page are arranged can serve as a template for organising paragraphs in a written story or piece of non-fiction writing. The visual conventions of a graphic novel – the shape of speech bubbles or the way the reader’s attention is directed – can inform children in the use of written dialogue and the inclusion of vivid and relevant details.
A creative and essential resource for every primary classroom, Kapow! uses comic art imagery to help children tackle text by –

  • Enhancing children’s understanding of story structure, narrative and pacing.
  • Engaging the interest and making stories more accessible.
  • Encouraging Thinking skills and the development of wider metacognitive abilities
  • Motivating reading more widely.
  • Encouraging and developing oral skills

Table of Contents

Section 1 – Scene Setting and Story Structure
1. Strong openings. Comic Art (CA) panels with dialogue to prompt further thinking
2. Opening lines. What would the first few panels look like?
3. What do you want the reader to see? The artful use of a few small important details (SIDs)
4. What to put in, what to leave out. Learning brainstorming and association. Choosing details
5. Directing the reader’s attention. CA panels used as a visual analogue to text. Imagining a CA page gives insights into structuring written scenes
6. Scenario cards. CA panels / pages that set a scene and get the story moving
7. Choice of words. Tips for effective writing – plain and simple, say what you want to say and no more etc. Ref stereotyping, exaggeration / superlatives
8. Parts of speech. Linking the jobs words do with the above activities. Use strong and vivid PoS but don’t overwrite. Ref punctuation
9. Connectives. Connectives as a ‘narrative glue’ to stick scenes together
10. Don’t have an idea – have lots of ideas. Three statements, change one word or aspect (of a CA panel?) to suggest a different story
11. The if-then game for creating many story ideas
12. Scene changes. CA panels in short sequences to highlight the effects of connectives on the imagination
13. Foreshadowing. Including a detail early on that becomes important later on. Ref a platform of reasons. Combine with if-then game (if an amulet appeared on page one, what might the consequences be at the climax / end of the story?)
14. Cliffhangers. Using CA panels to suggest cliffhangers and give practice in writing cliffhanger sentences
15. Subplots. Simple subplotting techniques. CA techniques and conventions for blending subplots into the main story
16. Flashbacks. Using ideas from subplotting to create flashbacks
17. Drawing as a visual shorthand. Stories don’t have to be planned in words. Mix n match CA selection to create ‘plots in a nutshell’
18. Storyboarding. Visual techniques for plotting narrative (Nick Fury’s Howling Commandos – also ref dialogue / writing frames)
19. Strong endings. CA panels to prompt vivid endings. Last-line examples. What would the CA panel look like?
20. Prompter sentence grid. 6x6 roll dice to choose a first sentence and a last sentence. Choose a sentence if stuck re plotting to suggest what might happen next
21. Comic combos. A selection of CA scenes with gaps for writing
22. A platform of reasons. Believable stories have an internal logic and consistency. Ref characters / staying in character, genre

Section 2 – Characters
23. Creating quick characters. Character ticksheet. Coin flip game to ‘meet someone new’
24. Character zoo. A selection of character faces. Think about their background, what role each would play in a story. What if two of these characters met?
25. Reading faces. Describing drawn faces / noticing details (ref SIDs)
26. I’m sorry. Say ‘I’m sorry’ with different facial expressions. How does voice tone alter with facial expression? Link to adverbs-for-feeling
27. Don’t just stand there. Interpreting body posture
28. Caricature. Sometimes caricature (using similes / exaggerations) can bring a character to life – but use sparingly
29. Stereotyping. Stereotyping as a visual / written shorthand. ‘Toning down’ stereotyped characters. Making small but important changes to stereotyped characters
30. Dialogue. Use dialogue to establish / develop character, enhance the scene / atmosphere, move the story on. Ref CA conventions for dialogue
31. What do I think? CA conventions for internal dialogue. Ref to first and third person writing.

Section 3 – Pace and Atmosphere
32. Zoom! CA conventions for changing pace, moving the eye quickly across the page
33. Link the above with written techniques, ref. Connectives, strong verbs / adverbs and punctuation
34. What’s the point? The value of punctuation to clarify meaning – a few quick activities on this
35. In the mood. CA panels to suggest various moods, ref. to a few small details. Writing activities to practise this
36. Action scenes. Consolidate several ideas previously visited. CA panels written up as brief action scenes
37. Creating tension. Tips for doing this. Examples of CA plus written

Section 4 – Taking It Further
38. Genre. CA panels to introduce conventions and motifs of some genres
39. More on conventions of the genre – what we would ‘conventionally’ expect to find in certain genres. Activity: make a genre board to such conventions
40. More on motifs. Motifs defined as the details included in a story that defines and describes a genre. Ref details, dialogue
41. Comic Art and non-fictional writing. Using drawing as a planning strategy for essays, news articles, argumentative / debate pieces
42. CA and topic work. Using ‘the vocabulary of the subject’ and drawing techniques to explore topic areas
43. Famous Artworks. Some tips linking ideas in Kapow with interpreting and discussing famous artworks
44. Doorway into Text. Tips and activities linking ideas in Kapow with strategies for analysing and discussing text
45. Tony’s writing frames

Added by: joachim  Last edited by: joachim
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