Friday, May 29, 2009

NCTE's tips for teaching with graphic novels

From the NCTE Inbox (May 27, 2009):
Graphic novels are an increasingly popular format for stories told in a range of genres. While learning to read graphic novels takes practice, their artistic and literary merit makes the effort more than worthwhile. In this month's episode of's Text Message podcast, host Jennifer Buehler offers An Introduction to Graphic Novels (M-S). Tune in to hear an introduction to the graphic novel form, including discussion of key works such as Maus and American Born Chinese. Then listen for specific recommendations of nine graphic novels, including fantasy epics, memoirs, biographies, and adventure thriller stories.

Interested in finding out more about graphic novels and their potential for enriching your students' literacy learning? These resources from NCTE and provide a place to start.

Using Comics and Graphic Novels in the Classroom (G)
This article from the NCTE Council Chronicle offers an overview of the comic and graphic novel forms and suggests a wide range of applications in the classroom.

Graphic Novels in the Classroom (E-M)
In this Language Arts article, in what is one of the first-ever journal articles in graphic novel format, educator and author of American Born Chinese Gene Yang makes a case for using graphic novels in classrooms.

Comics in the Classroom as an Introduction to Genre Study (E)
The combination of the image and text (and relative brevity) of comic strips and comic books make them an excellent source of teaching material, as they explore language and meaning in a creative way. In this lesson, students will be examining the genre and subgenres of comics, their uses, and purposes.

Book Report Alternative: Comic Strips and Cartoon Squares (M)
This lesson offers a new way to think about and respond to a work of literature. By creating comic strips or cartoon squares featuring characters in books, students are encouraged to think analytically about a work they've explored in ways that expand their critical thinking by focusing on the significant points of the book in a few short scenes.

Expanding Literacies through Graphic Novels (S)
This article from English Journal offers a rationale, based on the need for current students to learn multiple literacies, for the use of graphic novels in the high school English class. The author highlights several titles, suggests possible classroom strategies, and discusses some of the obstacles teachers may face in adding graphic novels to their curriculum.

Gaining Background for the Graphic Novel Persepolis: A WebQuest on Iran (S)
To prepare students for reading the graphic novel Persepolis, this lesson uses a WebQuest to focus students' research efforts on finding reliable information about Iran before and during the Islamic Revolution. In groups, students research and then present information on aspects of Iran such as politics, religion, and culture.

Building Literacy Connections with Graphic Novels: Page by Page, Panel by Panel (M-S)
Each chapter of this book presents practical suggestions for the classroom as it pairs a graphic novel with a more traditional text or examines connections between multiple sources. The sample chapter includes teaching suggestions for pairing Spider-Man comics with Freak the Mighty and comments on teaching Maus I and Maus II.

Mapping Words and Images: Writing Graphic Novels with Adolescents (M-S)
Presenters in this on-demand archived Web seminar describe how they use the graphic novel to get their students writing authentic, personal, and creative texts. Participants learn about excellent practical and classroom-tested ideas for using the graphic novel format to get students writing in new and exciting ways.

Taking (and Teaching) the Shoah Personally (C)
Including discussion of Art Speigelman's Maus, this College English article describes the issues raised in a course on the Shoah that aimed to incorporate familial, historical, and rhetorical perspectives. The author is led to wonder whether the stories of those who underwent such experiences stand utterly outside critique and appropriation and may demand of us instead only that we never forget.

1 comment:

B. Mac said...

Hello. I tried contacting you through your contact form, but I kept getting error messages. I apologize if this is a duplicate.

I'm an ESL teacher and I run a writing website about comic books and graphic novels. I'm doing a discussion thread on "Why Aren't More Graphic Novels Assigned in Class?" Would you like to weigh in?

Thanks for your time and consideration.

--Brian McKenzie