Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us



Contribute to ReadWriteThink

ReadWriteThink couldn't publish all of this great content without literacy experts to write and review for us. If you've got lessons plans, videos, activities, or other ideas you'd like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.



Professional Development

Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.



Did You Know?

Your students can save their work with Student Interactives.

More more

HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Buzz! Whiz! Bang! Using Comic Books to Teach Onomatopoeia

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)


Buzz! Whiz! Bang! Using Comic Books to Teach Onomatopoeia

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Maureen Gerard

Maureen Gerard

Phoenix, Arizona


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Increase their knowledge of literary terms and how they are used in everyday writing by defining onomatopoeia using comic strips or books

  • Demonstrate comprehension of onomatopoeia by locating onomatopoetic words in comic books

  • Explore the effect onomatopoeia has in comic books and other narratives through a class discussion

  • Apply their knowledge of onomatopoeia and the structure and narrative form of comics to create their own comic strips containing onomatopoetic words

back to top


Session 1

1. Show the sample comics you have chosen to the class using the transparencies or LCD projector. Tell students that you will read the comics aloud and that as you do so, they should listen for words that imitate the natural sound associated with an action or an object, for example bang or slam.

2. When you are finished, ask students to tell you what words like this they heard. Highlight these words by writing them on chart paper or using a marker on the transparency.

3. Explain that words like this are examples of onomatopoeia. Write onomatopoeia on a piece of chart paper or the board so that students can see how it is spelled.

4. Reread the comic with the whole class, instructing students to read the onomatopoetic words using sound effects and emphasis. For example, have them read a word like boom loudly, with emphasis placed on the rounded vowel sounds created by the double /oo/.

5. Have students write the word onomatopoeia in their personal dictionaries with this basic definition: words that make the sound of the action or object. If any of the words you located in the sample comics are unfamiliar to students, they should add these as well.

The definition of onomatopoeia could also head a word wall made from the chart paper list. This word wall should be posted where students can easily see it while they work on their own comic strips later in the lesson.

6. Talk about why writers of comic strips would use onomatopoeia and what function these words serve in a narrative. Questions for discussion include:
  • What effect does using onomatopoeia have in a story?

  • Why are comic strips a good place to find examples of these kinds of words?

  • What kinds of synonyms can you find for these words? (i.e., close hard instead of slam) How does it change the story if you substitute the synonym?
7. Pass out copies of the sample comic strips you have printed for students to use in locating onomatopoeias. Allow time for students to find the onomatopoeias and to share the humor and story of the comics with each other.

8. Close the lesson by discussing new or unusual onomatopoeias students found in their comics; add these to the class word wall or have students add them to their personal dictionaries.

back to top


Session 2

1. Review the definition of onomatopoeia and the list of onomatopoetic words from the previous lesson, using the word wall if you have posted one. Ask students to think of any onomatopoetic words that are not included in the list; add any that they are able to come up with.

2. Ask students to remember some of the ways they saw onomatopoeias being used in the comics they looked at in the previous session. What are some of the ways they might use these words in creating a comic strip of their own?

3. Give each student a copy of the Comic Strip Planning Sheet. Explain that they are to use this handout to help them brainstorm a six-panel comic strip. Talk about how, like a book, a comic strip tells a story and has a plot, characters, and action. For each panel, they should list the landscape and props they will use (chosen from the list on the sheet), the characters present in that panel, the actions that take place, the caption or words the characters speak, and any onomatopoeias they plan to use.

4. Give students the rest of this session to work on their planning sheets. Allow students to work individually or in pairs to create their comic strips. Encourage discussion and sharing of ideas of how to use onomatopoeia. Circulate among the students to monitor progress, provide support in writing, and to assess their understanding of onomatopoeia. Students should save their planning sheets to use in Session 3.

back to top


Session 3

Note: Students will use computers for this session, so if necessary, you should conduct all or part of it in the computer lab.

1. Demonstrate the use of the Comic Creator. Explain that students will begin their own writing project to create a six-panel comic strip with dialogue that includes onomatopoeias. Students should print their work when they complete it.

2. Distribute the Comic Strip Rubric and review it. Tell students that they should use the rubric check their comic strips when they have finished their work. Explain that you will use this same rubric when you evaluate their comic strips.

3. Ask students to use the Comic Strip Planning Sheets they filled out in Session 2 to complete a comic using the Comic Creator. Circulate among the students to monitor progress and provide support as they work. Collect the printed versions of the comics when students have completed them.

back to top


Session 4

Share students' comics with the entire class by projecting them on an overhead or displaying them on a board. Discuss students' use of onomatopoeia. Questions for discussion include:

  • How does onomatopoeia work in this comic strip? What does it add to the story?

  • How would the comic strip be different without using onomatopoeia?

  • Can you think of any additional ways this student could have used onomatopoeia?

back to top



  • To help develop reading fluency, assign roles and make copies of the comics with the respective parts of the dialogue highlighted. Have students practice reading the different parts out loud. Present the comic panels on an overhead projector while students read the parts dramatically for the whole class.

  • Organize a comic book convention for students to read and critique fellow students' comics.

back to top



  • Informally assess students' understanding of onomatopoeia, their ability to locate onomatopoetic words, and their grasp of how and why onomatopoeia is used during the discussion in Session 1 and while you circulate as students are writing their own comics.

  • Use the Comic Strip Rubric to assess understanding and use of onomatopoeia in the student-created comic strip panels.

  • Assess students' abilities to locate onomatopoetic words by giving them another comic strip or book (or some other form of text) and asking them to identify and record the onomatopoeias they find.

back to top