Research: Closing the Gap with the Gutter (Graphic Novels in the Classroom)

Using Images in the Classroom to Bridge Reading Gaps and Promote Engagement

Research on Graphic Novels

Today's research quick post is about comics and graphic novels. I am a comic fan. Graphic novels, comic books, images and words put together on the name it. I like it. Yesterday, I picked up Marvel's Black Panther for library day today. The appreciation I have for Coates' writing and the illustrations in this text are nothing short of a work of art. Amazed. However, the whole time I was reading today I had a bugging/nagging/tingling feeling in my mind about my struggling readers that may gravitate to this genre, but may not understand the words. Considering that the ever popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series by Jeff Kinney is a 950 Lexile (Above 6th grade level), many of my students are reading around the 3rd-4th grade level range. Yet, they are able to make sense of these images with the pictures. They beg for these books to the point where the small graphic novel section is always checked out. Why? And why is this section sometimes scary in education?

This idea of making sense images and words on the page is not a new pondering for me. My masters thesis was on how this potential link for emergent readers might be key in establishing connections across the achievement gap. Because reading and writing go hand-in-hand, it would be negligent on my part to not recognize that my students LOVE to read in the graphic novel genre, however, I am seldom allowing them to write in this genre due to the stipulation of not appearing "academic enough." I go in-depth in my paper regarding how the emergent reader may benefit from images and text on the same pages: 



Also, here are a couple of Prezis I put together regarding images and words in the classroom:

Because today was library day, I had some wonderings about my students and graphic novels:

  1. Can graphic novels and comics be used to close achievements gaps in reading?

  2. Can graphic novels and comics be used to close achievement gaps in writing?

  3. How do we produce "whole" readers? Students who love graphic novels, but are often told to go look for chapter books?

  4. Can our struggling readers make sense of more difficult text not in the graphic novel format if given images?

  5. How can we provide more images for our struggling readers to help make sense of the text?


Writing Mindset Reflection: How do you use graphic novels in your classroom? How are graphic novels or comics seen by your students? By your colleagues?