Using Speech Bubbles to Help Improve Writing Skills
Today’s post comes from Jake Malloy, husband of Play Eat Grow blogger, Tiffany Malloy. Jake is a SAHD by day, math tutor by night, and is always coming up with fun, interesting, “out of the box” ways of teaching and playing with the kids.
My oldest child is starting school this coming year. Writing is one of the activities that was not common in his schedule that I imagined would become common once in school. Therefore, I was trying to think of some fun ways to encourage his writing skills. He likes to write out his and his sisters’ names and “Happy Birthday” which is great, but I wanted to give him a way to expand his writing topics and his writing length. Then it dawned on me, how about speech bubble comics?
I knew I’d have to make them big, so he could write inside. So I went with one person and bubble per sheet of paper to start.
Instead of drawing my own, which I’m sure the kids would not mind, however crudely drawn they might be, I found a comic strip creating site: Bitstrips. The site is pretty manageable. I made some characters and then decided it would be a better use of paper-space if I made all the character features white, so they could function as coloring pages also. My kids enjoyed recommending features for the characters we produced, but of course you can make them yourself too.
Once you make some characters, you can make a comic. I recommend one frame to start. Drag in a character. Adjust the body position into something interesting, and then add a speechbubble.
[Note on the bubbles: They seem to autosize by the text, so to have blank open bubbles, I use a “ .” (spaces then period) method. I imagine an underscore could be useful as well to give your kids something to write on.]
After saving, scroll down a bit and click print. Then save as pdf. From the open pdf, you can crop and print at a scaled size. They will be a little pixelated, but none of my kids seemed to mind.
If you want to try it out before making your own, here’s a printable for you: Speech Bubbles.
Asante started with one and two word sentences, but as we continue I’ll encourage him to write longer sentences and also begin to string frames together for a more cohesive story.
Thanks for the great idea, Jake!