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Marcus Thompson

Spring 2017
Using Graphic Novels in the Classroom:

Abstract: Graphic Novels are novels told through the comic medium. The main distinction
between a graphic novel and a comic book is a graphic novel is a novel length story told in one
book were as the traditional periodical short form publication with illustrations is a comic book.
Essentially all Graphic Novels are comic books, but not all comic books are graphic novels. As
the popularity of graphic novels increases so those their appearance in education institutes,
libraries, and classrooms. This review summarizes three approaches to using the graphic novels
in the Classroom

Griffith, P. E. (2010). Graphic novels in the secondary classroom and school libraries:
graphic novels can provide teaching and learning opportunities for readers, educators, and
researchers. In this article, discover which graphic novels to use and how to use them in
your classroom. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, (3), 181.

Summary: Paula Griffith notices the increasing popularity of graphic novels over the years
working her High Schools book fair. She notes one student that never even considered any other
type of book, when given the opportunity to receive any book for free. In lite of this change
Griffith sets out to make graphic novels more accessible to the students at here school. To do
this, she creates an evaluation process to determine what works would be the most appropriate
for her Audience.
Analysis: Before the evaluation process can begin, she wants to explain the cause for the rise in
popularity in graphic Novels. There are two main reasons.
1. Graphic Novels (and comics) Are the often the source material for, film, cartoons, toys,
and videogames. These things are already targeting toward her students age group.
2. Graphic novels have been steadily winning awards and approval by literary organizations
such as the Young Adult Library Services Association.
The evaluation process first judges the media on interior and exterior content which includes;
Font, Type placement, appearance, arrangement of art frames and Illustrations. There are
separate evaluations for fiction and non-fiction content, but ultimately it must be relatable,
understandable and have some significance.
Results: The research in application of graphic novels shows that it helps reading comprehension
in ESL students and struggling readers. Using the evaluation process Griffith was able to create a
list of titles that felt appropriate for the Highschool
Critique: Paula provided a comprehensive view of an evaluation process for graphic novels. I do
have problem with illustration being a consideration. Illustration is aesthetic preference, some of
the issues with the arrangements may be personal and not affect other readers. Some great novels
use simple illustration as a tool to create a layer on context. Another issue is the inclusion of the
questions Does the action keep your readers interest and motivate them to continue reading?
& Does the resolution bring the conflict to a satisfying end? under the criteria for nonfiction.
In is difficult to judge if the action is interesting or not in all cases. Not all endings need to be
satisfying and the provoke deeper thought.
Hughes, J., & Morrison, L. (2014). The evolution of teaching with graphic novels. Jeunesse:
Young People, Texts, Cultures, (2), 116.

Summary: Janette Hughes with Laura Morrison offer a course on teaching techniques which
incorporate the idea of using graphic novels as a teaching course. Their students are growing
more familiar with the medium over time, but use in elementary or secondary schools are still
lagging. Hughes and Morrison also note again that Graphic Novels have been shown to help
struggling readers and English language learners. The students they worked with were between
grades three and eleven. The focus of the research is to show how using graphic novels as an
instructional instrument can impact student learning and understanding of content.
Analysis: The Authors used various ways to introduce graphic novels as teaching tools. These
Deconstructing the individual parts of a comic, to teach story organization.
Building a story using the broken-down parts of a comic.
Graphic novels to teach social issues, community and cultural identify.
Graphic novels as a companion to history, to illustrate significant events.
Graphic novels that as a companion to traditional literature.
Results: Hughes and Morisons research showed that they could use graphic novels to get more
specific on a subject they were teaching. The stories illustrated social political climates better
than traditional text. Students interviewed in the course felt they were more knowledgeable about
theyre culture after participating. They also noted the graphic novel based assignments open
more opportunities for students to demonstrate learned knowledge.
Critique: The research focused on getting students to connect with lesson in a more personal
way. They built their own narratives. With a fair amount of their students being native
Canadians, the authors focused on talking up those students experience in social students. It does
not touch on how Canadians of other ethnicities took to the content. It interesting to hear graphic
novels being taken out of literature classes for history and social studies. Implementation in math
and science could also be beneficial to research, as you may have to use the book as more than
reading material.

Monnin, K. (2010). Teaching Media Literacy with Graphic Novels. New Horizons In
Education, 58(3), 78-84.

Summary: Monnins mission is to prove and justify that graphic novels are valid tools for
teaching digital literacy in K-12. Her research highlighted how the use current digital media
literature methods correlated with the graphic novel to form effective teaching methods. In her
book, Teaching Media Literacy with Graphic Novels, she writes about how graphic novels walk
two paths as it serves the purpose of being both a work of literature teaching traditional English
skills, and a multimedia work with its illustrations adding non-verbal context to the text.
Analysis: The argument of what is real literature must first be put aside for the research. The
counter argument is;
In this day in age most people communicate using some form of media. Images are used
to communicate in much like hieroglyphics of the past. (emoji, street signs, etc.)
modern educational resources already use some combination of image and text
After defending graphic novels as real literature. The process for how to use the novels to teach
digital literacy is formed.
Identify graphic novels that are appropriate for the age group (K-12)
Educating the students on basic comic structure
o Panels the blocks that hold content
o Gutters The space between panels
o Balloons contains words, sounds, thoughts, and story elements
After identifying the parts, you break down the concepts in the parts and determine what
the messages are, verbal and non-verbal
o How are those ideas being conveyed?
o What is the point of view?
Answer the 5 Key Questions of Media Literacy Texts as established by The Center for
Media Literacy (
o Who created this message?
o What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?
o How might different people understand this message differently?
o What values, lifestyles and points of view represented in, or omitted from this
o Why is the message being sent?
Link key questions to the comic structure (ex. Who created this panel?)
Results: Monnin establishes a model for teachers to use for applying graphic novels to critical
thinking skills. The multiple parts of graphic novels can be translated into other forms of media,
for example a panel can be a movie scene of even a webpage. Monnin ultimate opinion is that
graphic novels are just another tool. A valid tool to be considered, just like other text. This is
because they work just as well with the 5 key questions. With graphic novels being validated
teachers can use more modern literature to teach digital literacy.
Critique: Monnin is very much a champion for the incorporation of graphic novels in the
classroom and using them in a teaching tool. The research a method on how she built an
instruction guide on how to use the ideas that She wrote about in her book, Teaching with
Graphic Novels. Like with other pieces on this subject the author does point out that most people
are not familiar with the graphic novel medium. While this author does an excellent job at
establishing and defending the legitimacy of the graphic novel, without student feedback or proof
of concept, implementing the technique in this piece may seem like too much of a leap for
graphic novel skeptics.