Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s comic book day

Pupils at an east London school this week traded in their school uniforms to morph into their favourite comic book heroes and villains

Children from Elmhurst Primary School, Forest Gate (and their teachers) freed their imaginations as they brought comic book characters to life.

Literacy co-ordinator and Year 4 Head, Nia Williams, lead the day arranging a visit from cartoonist Kev Sutherland, illustrator and writer for The Beano comics, to run a masterclass in comic book drawing and composition.

“As a school we believe passionately in instilling a love of reading in our children.

“Throughout the year I try to run as many events as possible that will excite and engage them, things like ‘bedtime stories’ where we have a whole school evening pyjama party, book swaps and involving the children in selecting their own books.

“I chose comics this time as a means of trying to engage more reluctant readers (especially some of our boys) but also to give value and worth to this form of reading.

“In particular I wanted to show parents that reading comics is still a worthy form of reading; that they can be very sophisticated and complex.”

Throughout the day the children looked at a comic in detail, analysing every aspect before creating their own.

At an assembly, cartoonist Kev instilled confidence into everyone that they could draw. Using simple but clever techniques, he was able to show the children how to break down the drawing process.

The pupils returned “inspired” and got straight down to drawing.

But it was not just children who got into the superhero mood. Jonny Walker, year 5 geography and websites coordinator said: “The teachers all got very much into the spirit. Spandex was to be found in the staffroom as well as the playground.

“The teachers’ enthusiasm is the catalyst for the kids’ involvement, and decked in a wig and a onesie, it is harder for a teacher not to be giddy.”

To end the day, classes explored the themes of good and evil and how these differed in reality and comic books.

The children then created their own super hero or super villain and conducted a TV interview with them.

Miss Williams added: “Most important was the buzz and excitement generated by the day. Our staff and pupils really embraced the event, most of the school was dressed up and the parents were also curious and excited, which is what I had hoped for.

“It’s a day that we’ll all remember. I hope that children might go home and pick up a comic tonight instead of switching on the TV.”

Elmhurst pupils let their imaginations runs wild – as do there of their teachers. And no, we didn’t make up their characters’ names. That’s how the picture arrived in Schools Week’s inbox





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