Graphic novels are all the rage. Some PICTURE BOOKS are even adding speech bubbles to show the conversation in their stories. So why not have students add speech bubbles to wordless books for a fun writing activity?

Check out picture books like ONE COOL FRIEND and Z IS FOR MOOSE (see links below) where characters talk using speech bubbles. Point out the speech bubbles to your students, and then tell them they are going to add speech bubbles to wordless books.

Give students wordless books such as CARL THE DOG books and THE SUMMER VISITORS (see links below) and have them add speech bubbles to the pages. You’ll see examples of how I did so in the video above.

Make certain students are adding speech bubbles in a safe way that does NOT damage the books. They can write dialog on post-it notes or cut-out speech bubbles that are attached with post-it tape to the pages of the book (see link below for speech bubbles templates). Younger children can dictate dialog for you to write for them.

You could even expand this activity to help students learn to write dialog, which can be challenging for young authors. After they add speech bubbles to a book, then they can try to write a story for that book–telling what happens on page after page while adding the conversation (i.e. The baby and Carl stared at themselves in the mirror. The baby said, “We look beautiful!” Carl the dog agreed, “Grrrrrreat!”). You can point out to students that the part in the speech bubble is what goes INSIDE the QUOTATION MARKS.

For older students who want to try writing their own graphic novel scene, check out the activity for the graphic novel LOST TRAIL (see link below).

One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo & David Small
Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham & Paul O. Zelinsky
Good Dog, Carl by Alexander Day (check out other “Carl” books too)
The Summer Visitors by Karel Hayes
Lost Trail by Donn Fendler, Lynn Plourde & Ben Bishop
speech bubble links (see on last pages of pdf)
graphic novel scene-writing activity

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