The term graphic novels may require some initial explanation to parents and new readers. While there are graphic novels written for adults, there are a host of titles published expressly for children from young readers to young adults. In fact, they are growing in popularity in public libraries because they are visually engaging and have a way of connecting the reader to the story through words and images.
How can they help teachers in the classroom, and why should teachers alter their current curriculum to include graphic novels? Here are four things to consider when adding graphic novels to your classroom from Scholastic’s guide to using graphic novels with children and teens.
Motivation – Many school librarians and educators have reported success in getting kids to read using graphic novels, particularly boys — a group traditionally difficult to reach. Additionally graphic novels with rich, complex plots and narrative structures can also be satisfying to advanced readers.
Reluctant Readers – Having trouble reaching students through traditional texts? Readers who are not interested in reading or who, despite being capable of reading, prefer gaming or watching media, can be pulled into a story by the visual elements of graphic novels.
Benefits to Struggling Readers – Graphic novels can dramatically help improve reading for students struggling with language acquisition, including students with developmental disabilities, as the illustrations provide contextual clues that help foster comprehension.
Developing Critical Reading Skills – Graphic novels available today demand many of the same skills that are needed to understand traditional works of prose fiction including understanding author’s purpose, making inferences and recognizing cause and effect.
In terms of curriculum integration, many educators have reported great success using graphic novels, especially in the areas of English, Science, Social Studies and Art. Teachers are discovering that graphic novels ― just like traditional forms of literature ― can be useful tools for helping students examine aspects of history, science, literature and art to help meet curriculum standards.
In fact, the American Library Association has recognized the importance of graphic novels and has established an annual list of Great Graphic Novels for Teens to help libraries collect the best of this popular new format.
Recognizing the growing need for 24/7 access to graphic novels, EBSCO eBooks™ has developed a list of Classic Graphic Novels that are suitable for all ages.
The newly-created SEE-IT Award, recognizing the cultural and literary impact of youth graphic novels, has recently announced the six top-scoring finalists. The winner will be announce at the 2017 ALA Annual Conference in June.