Universiti Malaya – Wales

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Barnard’s “A picture is worth a thousand words” represents the meaning in which an image portrays a deeper message and can convey information more quickly than the written word. Images are widely used to synthesize, recall and compare. This is where the education system encourages educators to impose a wider range of strategies in improving student’s literacy. Time has changed and the usage of comics strips and graphic novels are now being used widely as one of the teaching and learning tools for students, ranging from primary schools up to tertiary education. There was strong disbelief among parents and educators on their relevance and importance, although many now begin to realise and accept it as an authentic tool in increasing reading and writing ability.

Findings have shown that using comic strips and graphic novels spark interest in students, and improves their skills. Reluctant students or English Language learners who struggle reading long text can use this opportunity to engage their thinking skills and increase their vocabulary through the link between pictures and words. The benefits of incorporating graphic novels or comic strips into classroom teaching and learning can be vast. These teaching styles can also broaden students’ critical reading skills and creativity in imagining a whole storyline in a much simpler way. Comic strips can boost up the level of motivation among students to enjoy reading and actively engage in comprehending both text and images and the interplay between the two.

Educators could consider incorporating the usage of comic strips and graphics novels in a classroom setting which may increase student involvement in group discussions, whereby speaking skills will be enhanced. The benefits of this innovative teaching style are many and it has the potential to enhance the literacy levels of different learners, from a teacher centered to learner centered approach, where critical thinking and instructional decision making are involved. This innovative teaching style gives students the platform to reach their success both in the classroom and in their future career growth.