Comics and Common Core Standards
for English Language Arts
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are organized around the following categories (strands):
SPEAKING and LISTENING
RL—Reading Literature/RI—Reading Informational Text/RF—Reading Foundational Skills
SL—Speaking and Listening
Individual grade-specific standards can be identified by the strand, grade level, and standard number. The designation RL.2.3, for example, stands for Reading Literature, Grade 2, Standard 3.
TOON and Common Core
Comics’ unique blend of words and pictures and the TOON Books’ use of carefully chosen vocabulary make them perfect to teach along the CCS Standards. The TOON Books draw young readers into the story, satisfying the Reading Literature (RL) standards. The comics format also teaches children visual literacy, an essential skill for reading diagrams, maps, and graphs and meeting the Reading Informational Text (RI) standards.
Young readers love comics. In one of the most exciting new trends in education, teachers are using TOON Books, high-quality comics designed specifically for elementary classrooms, to further their students’ progress along the CCSS. Comics are excellent teaching tools: young readers are naturally drawn to the detail in the pictures, which makes them want to read the words. Emerging readers and so-called ‘reluctant’ readers are enchanted by a strong visual narrative and instantly feel at ease with comics’ inviting format. TOON Books provide many opportunities for students to make inferences from illustrations, integrate information from text and pictures, acquire new vocabulary supported by the pictures, and recognize the basic elements of the comics format.
After reading, students participate in TOON activities like creative writing, reader’s theater, and storytelling. With the pedagogical underpinnings presented here, teachers have found it easy to engage young minds in the pleasure of reading.
In the words of TOON Advisor, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Art Spiegelman: “Comics are a gateway drug to literacy.”