Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Character and Plot Development Through Comics

Monica McManus


Students are introduced to character, plot development, point of view, and tone through the use of comic strips. Students identify these four attributes in the comic strip and present their findings to the class.


The student uses strategies to clarify meaning, such as rereading, note taking, summarizing, outlining, and writing a grade level-appropriate report.

The student determines the main idea or essential message in a text and identifies relevant details and facts and patterns of organization.

The student identifies the author's purpose and/or point of view in a variety of texts and uses the information to construct meaning.

The student understands how volume, stress, pacing, and pronunciation can positively or negatively affect an oral presentation.

The student speaks for various occasions, audiences, and purposes, including conversations, discussions, projects, and informational, persuasive, or technical presentations.

The student recognizes complex elements of plot, including setting, character development, conflicts, and resolutions.

The student understands how character and plot development, point of view, and tone are used in various selections to support a central conflict or story line.


-Sunday comics (at least one comic strip per student)
-Transparency of comic strip
-Overhead projector
-Comic Strip Rubric (see attached file)


1. Collect enough Sunday comics so that each student will receive one comic strip.
2. Make a transparency of the comic strip used for the classroom discussion.
3. Photocopy the Comic Strip Rubric for each student.


Students will identify character, plot development, point of view, and tone in a comic strip.

Authentic Context:
You have just graduated from college as a cartoon artist. You have to develop a new character and plot for the Sunday comics. You have your first interview in one month, so you have decided to research already popular comics to find out what is the magical ingredient that made them successful. You will be analyzing the following factors: character, plot development, point of view, and tone. You will be asked to make a short presentation to explain these factors in the existing comic and to explain how you will use these devices in your new comic.

1. Project a transparency of a comic strip using the overhead projector. Explain that every story, even a short comic strip story, has certain elements. Students will identify each of the following elements in the comic strip:
-point of view
-plot development

2. Assign students to cooperative pairs. Give each pair of students a comic strip from the Sunday comics. Students will have to identify the characters, plot development, point of view, and tone of the comic strip.

3. Each pair of students should present the comic strip to the class by reading the strip and assuming the role of the characters. Identification of the character, point of view, tone, and plot development should be included in the oral presentation.

4. Discuss the Comic Strip Rubric with the students prior to the presentations to explain the criteria that will be used to assess the oral presentation.

5. Assess student presentations using the Comic Strip Rubric.

If the students are not familiar with the literary terms, introduce the terms to the students.

Who is the character in the comic?
The characters are the WHO in the story. Characters are divided into two categories: major and minor characters.

The point of view of the story tells from whose perspective the story is being told. Look through the dialogue for the following clues:
First person: Look for -I- or -We-
Second person: Look for -You-
Third person: Look for -He, - She,- -It,- and -They-

The tone of the story is how the story makes the reader feel. The tone can be sad, angry, or funny. Read the comic strip and decide how it makes you feel.

The final literary term is plot development. This is the road the story takes. As the plot develops, it is as if the reader is climbing a mountain. As the plot climaxes, when the most important part of the story takes place, the top of the mountain is reached . When the characters are resolving the problem or conflict, the reader descends the mountain.


Use the Comic Strip Rubric provided in the attached file to assess the oral presentation.

A suggested scale for the rubric is provided below.
45-40 points = A
39-35 points = B
34-30 points = C
29-25 points = D
25 - 0 points = F

An FCAT Reading Assessment practice item is provided in the attached file.

Which of the cartoon characters best describes the central conflict in your life? Explain why.


Class will invite a real comic strip artist to speak to the class about how the comic strip is developed using character, point of view, tone, and plot development.
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