Comic books have several advantages when it comes to helping children learn a 2nd language:
- Images help children understand more easily the meaning of a sentence in the 2nd language.
- Comic books help expand a child’s vocabulary. Comics can introduce them to non-standard words and phrases which are not typically found in traditional story books.
- As kids get older, they can start reading some of the words on their own.
- Once kids are able to read in the 2nd language, you can make it fun by reading together and role-playing different characters.
Here are 4 tips on how comic books can help children learn a 2nd language:
#1: Choose cartoons and characters that children know already in their primary language of instruction
If your kids love Tintin or Spiderman, they are likely to love it whether it is in English, French or Spanish.
#2: Read comic books like chapter books
We are all time-pressed, and reading a whole comic book of 40 to 50 pages takes time. Instead of reading the whole thing, read 2 or 3 pages at bedtime, or during breakfast for example. It creates a routine that children are looking forward to.
#3: Bring the comic book to life with TV cartoons in the 2nd language
Many comic books have a cartoon version that can be easily viewed for free on YouTube. The cartoons on YouTube are often divided in 10-minute segments. You can find cartoons of Tintin, Asterix, die Biene Maya, Spiderman,... on Youtube in English, French, Spanish, German, etc.
#4: Use a comic-theme activity book for homework int he 2nd language
Our 5-year old son loves Spiderman. He loves when we read to him Spiderman comic books, he enjoys seeing the cartoons on YouTube, and therefore doing 2 pages of activities in French (writing, reading, matching words,…) in his Spiderman activity book does not feel like homework to him.
Are you using comic books to help your children learn a 2nd language? What are your favorite ones?