Try this in school

Comedy capers

The Comic Club at Beavers Community Primary School is a space where children want to come and read informally and socially. It’s a drawing, flicking-through-comics, nibbling-on-biscuits space, evolving in whichever direction the children want to take it. This is a special group where reading, drawing and talking are equally valued.

What’s involved?

The club runs after school once a week. We start with comics, graphics novels and biscuits, of course! We play a drawing game followed by a main task such as a comic jam or a new skill like drawing sound effects. We’ve made our own choose-your-own-adventure graphic novel. Some children read, others draw, but many do a bit of both.

Comic Club membership

Comic Club started with lower Key Stage 2 and was quite boy-heavy until we put out a flyer that featured books such as:

  • ‘The Lumberjanes’ comic book series (Boom Box!, 2014-2020)
  • Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson (Puffin, 2017)
  • El Deafo by Cece Bell (Abrams, 2014)

Seventy percent of members don’t own comics or graphic novels. Comic Club members can borrow a comic or graphic novel every week. They take charge of keeping track of titles and managing the books that there is a waiting list for.

Comic Club library

The Comic Club library has grown into a collection of comics and graphic novels bought from charity and book shops, and eBay. We want more than enough for everyone to read simultaneously, and a new title every few weeks to generate a bit of excitement.

We also have several graphic novel adaptations of classic children’s literature such as Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce, adaptation by Edith (Oxford University press, 2016) and The Dark is Rising  by Susan Cooper (Penguin, 2023).

What the children gain

The majority of children said that they have read more this year by coming to Comic Club, saying it’s fun, relaxing and doesn’t feel like a lesson. They have been introduced to different texts and authors like Meanwhile by Jason Shiga (Abrams, 2010) and City of Dragons by Jamal Yogis (Graphix, 2021) which have become highly sought after.

‘If I wasn’t here I’d be at home playing Fortnite.” (Year 5 boy)

“I had never read The Phoenix before, I hadn’t even heard of it.” (Year 4 boy)

Teachers have noticed a difference

Comic Club members bring their enthusiasm back into the classroom. They’re causing a ripple effect where other children ask, ‘Where did you get that from?’ and ‘Can I borrow it?’. This often brings new members to Comic Club.

Impact, reflections and next steps

Comic Club is a really positive space that celebrates reading in a low-risk way. The emphasis is on enjoyment, community and creativity, with reading at its core. We’re looking to grow the Comic Club library and membership and introduce Reading Cafes at lunch times to reach even more children.

You can watch the Comic Club video below and find out more about ‘Get Hounslow Reading’ on the HEP YouTube channel.


Author bio: Lise Bentley is a KS2 Teacher at Beavers Community Primary School in Hounslow