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The Comic Sans Trick

Just in time for the March Slice of Life Story Challenge, and also at that time of year when your students (if they are old enough to type) might be ready for a boost to increase engagement, stamina, and volume, the internet has proved itself useful and has given us the Comic Sans trick.

But before I tell you about it, you have to understand the context. In case you weren’t aware, Comic Sans–that playful, childlike font that your students probably love to use in multiple colors—provokes annoyance, ire, even flat out rage in many people, especially writers.

Comic Sans, I have always been taught, is the worst font. This font is the butt of office jokes, and there are entire Facebook pages and websites devoted to banning comic sans completely. Articles in respected news outlets and magazines have reported on how much we love to hate this font (see Huffington Post’s coverage here, the New Yorker Magazine here, and the BBC here).

This amazing website is devoted to all the reasons why nobody should be using Comic Sans, just a few of which include:

  • It is a comical font, intended for children, not for serious information.
  • It can be difficult to read, in part because it is a “sans serif” font, not well suited for many lines of text.
  • It uses lines at varying angles to form the letters, and there’s little to no uniformity in the design, making it appear disheveled and messy.
  • Whether deserved or not, many will judge you (harshly) for using it.

So where am I headed with this? What can Comic Sans do to help you and your students?

Despite how much people despise this typeface, it turns out that if you use Comic Sans to draft you will write more and you will write faster. I’m not kidding. Try it.

I didn’t believe it, so I tried it today. I wrote double my usual word count in half the time. Don’t believe me? You don’t have to take my word for it.

This article, titled Get Over Yourself and Start Writing in Comic Sans explains some of the reasoning behind why this trick works, and so does this one, titled The Font You Hate Might Actually Save You.

So, as you head into the March Slice of Life Challenge, if you find yourself needing a little boost in productivity, there you have it: Comic Sans. You’re welcome.

Categories

drafting, stamina, volume

BethMooreSchool View All

Literacy Coach, Consultant, Author, Graduate Course Instructor, and Mom. Passionate about fostering a love of reading and writing in learners of all ages.

13 thoughts on “The Comic Sans Trick Leave a comment

  1. Well, I am so happy to read this! I happen to be a fan of this font. Maybe it’s because my roots in teaching are from kindergarten. I’ve used it, and century gothic, for many years with my students. It is my default font for emails, and pretty much ANYTHING, but formal, academic papers. I don’t really care who judges me for using it, and now, I’ll gladly pass a love of this font along to my students! #comicsanslover #comicsansproud #comicsansstrong 😀

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  2. Love this! You have really got me thinking. My daughter-in-law is a Comic Sans hater – and we joke about this a lot, b/c I love to use Comic Sans for my preschoolers’ words…I feel it is easier for them to read.

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  3. Oh my gosh, Beth… I can’t wait to try this! I know the teachers I work with have students who struggle with volume and writer’s block, so I am sharing your post with them today. Like Margaret said, why not be willing to try anything to remedy these issues! Thanks for sharing this with us 🙂

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  4. I read a while back that teachers should use Comic Sans on handouts for students because it forces them to pay more attention to instructions. I think it was in the book “Make It Stick: The Science if Effective Learning,” and the author cited research.

    Once I have an idea, I tend not to have problems writing a lot, and I know my blog posts on SOL Tuesday are typically longer than others’ who participate. People in this community tend to comment more on short posts, but I’ve adopted the mindset that if blogging is about developing a writing habit and honing my skills, I must stay true to my purpose for each post, and the reason I started my blog.

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  5. Well, this post was enlightening in so many ways! I had no idea comic sans had such a reputation! I use it all the time….but, when I read the description (making it appear disheveled and messy) , and the comments, I think it would make a fascinating personality study. We, teachers, tend to tolerate disheveled and messy better than the general population!

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  6. You know I’m with you when it comes to my disdain of this font. All I keep thinking is “go ahead and draft with it, but please change it to something more respectable before hitting print or publish.” Does this make me a font snob?

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  7. This is such a fun post. I have had the Comic Sans conversation with a few people who are seriously against the use of the font. I think it’s cute and fun (exactly what they have about it). Now I’m going to go try the trick on one of my SOLC slices (that I am trying to prepare ahead of time so I can make it through March). Thanks for this!

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    • I don’t understand, either! I’ve read that it is an easier font for some people with dyslexia to read and to write with. Although, I do agree that published work in middle school and beyond needs a different font.

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