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Autumn 2011: The ComiX Factor

We recieved over 1,200 entries for the ComiX Factor competition, and the quality of entries was fantastic. The National Literacy Trust and Renaissance Learning spent hours deliberating with the Etherington Brothers over the shortlist but eventually managed to come to a decision. And the winner is...

What was the ComiX Factor all about?

Ren Learn logoIn September 2011 we teamed up with literacy resource providers Renaissance Learning to bring schools an exciting new competition for the autumn term, this time focusing on writing…

We know that the quality of pupils’ writing is still a concern among teachers, with 64% of teachers naming it as their priority in our recent survey. We also know that pupils’ enjoyment of writing is an important factor in increasing writing attainment – children who think writing is boring are three times more likely to be below average writers. The ComiX Factor competition put the fun factor back into writing.

Why comics?
Comics and graphic novels are popular types of reading materials among children and adults alike, so using them for writing-based activities is a sure fire way to get your pupils engaged. In particular, those who struggle with reading and writing might be “drawn in” by comics and graphic novels, but the rest of your class can also benefit from the multimodal nature of this genre.

How did it work?

Our friends, the fantastic Etherington Brothers, lent us one of their favourite characters, Dorko, to help us with the competition. The competition had two strands, one for primary pupils and one for secondary pupils.Dorko image copyright (c) The Etherington Brothers 2011

Primary: Create a sidekick
The Etherington Brothers’ character Dorko needed a sidekick to accompany him on his adventures. Pupils entered the competition by creating and drawing a new character to act as Dorko’s sidekick, then writing a passage of text describing the first meeting between the two characters.

Secondary: Complete the comic strip
The Etherington Brothers created the first frame of an exciting Dorko adventure. Pupils entered the competition by completing the comic strip using the template provided.

What was the prize?

The Etherington BrothersA comic-making workshop for the winning pupils and their class, delivered by the Etherington Brothers. Our favourite comic-writing duo will come into school during the spring term 2012 to give a masterclass in creating original characters, worlds and stories through example, exercise and Q & A sessions. Read testimonials. 

neo2 logoA set of five NEO 2 writing tools (worth £695) complete with Renaissance Receiver, which promote individual and collaborative writing and support Assessment for Learning. Find out more.

The winner of our secondary competition is also going to have their entry turned into a professional comic strip by the Etherington Brothers.


The National Literacy Trust is a registered charity no. 1116260 and a company limited by guarantee no. 5836486 registered in England and Wales and a registered charity in Scotland no. SC042944.
Registered address: 68 South Lambeth Road, London SW8 1RL.