The Popularity of Graphic Novels Reaches the Learning Environment
Posted May 4, 2017 – AWE Learning Staff
The presence of graphic novels in various learning environments has increased in recent years. Educators have incorporated them into the classroom as part of the curriculum and graphic novels are increasingly available as part of book collection libraries.
Graphic novels incorporate elements of other art forms to create an engaging experience for young learners. This type of literature is a book-length work in the medium of comics. These elements incorporated into graphic novels include compelling dialogue that combines with powerful visuals that convey a story or message. Rather than act as a replacement for traditional literacy resources, graphic novels add another format that young learners can experience. They have recently overcome a perception of simplicity to help to encourage more young learners to read and are generally available for readers of all ages and levels.
In terms of literacy development, graphic novels are a new tool for educators to provide to struggling readers. The visual elements make it less intimidating for early learners to read as they practice and gain early literacy skills. Pictures help to draw visual information about the story – context, environment, feelings, and emotion – while the combination of images and words helps to hold the reader’s interest. This combination can also help struggling readers improve their comprehension of the plot, characters’ emotions, and other story elements.
Graphic novels are available for readers of all ages and include numerous examples that focus specifically on young learners or early literacy:
- Washington Post: Best Graphic Novels of 2016
- ALA: Graphic Novels Reading List
- School Library Journal: Comic Relief – Thirty-Nine Graphic Novels that Kids Can’t Resist
- Parent Map: 43 Graphic Novels for Young Readers from Toddlers to Teens
Powerful imagery that accompanies text helps readers visualize a story as they read it. Visualization can further improve reading comprehension, which leads to increased fluency and greater literacy development. The addition of non-traditional literacy resources like graphic novels can increase confidence, improve literacy scores, and create an enthusiasm for learning. This applies to school classrooms. library programming efforts, and other educational environments.