I think I have uncovered a teaching goldmine. This could be the key to turning my reluctant readers, who make various trips to our library and rarely commit to a book, into kids who can't stop reading. It might also be the key to helping guide my die-hard realistic fiction lovers into the world of science fiction and fantasy. What is this precious gem you ask? Graphic novels!
I was skeptical of the idea at first. “Aren't those just longer versions of comic books?” I asked myself. After a lot of reading (see links to articles supporting their use at the end of this post), and perusing some great teaching blogs, I have decided I am going for it! I even bought my first one today:
I am particularly excited about reading this myself because I never actually read the book. I think it will be neat to suggest reading both this and the original to my students, and hearing their thoughts about the similarities and differences between the two. I am also curious to see which they prefer.
Of course, I will probably need to do a mini-lesson on how to read a graphic novel correctly (like how to follow the panels and speech bubbles). It might be fun to read a portion aloud while displaying it under the document camera in my classroom just to draw some interest. However, I still need to build up my stash before I start introducing them in my library. So...I have been searching endlessly for as many kid-friendly graphic novels as I can find!
In my search for appropriate graphic novels, I have used several sources. First, I found a lot of recommended graphic novels for the age group I teach on a great blog called "A Year of Reading." Check out the September 2011 Posts for some awesome reviews of graphic novels. I also started perusing the reviews in the "Kids" section on graphicnovelreporter.com. These are really helpful because they are thorough and there are a TON of graphic novels listed that are specifically made for younger readers. Finally, I also look at what the reviewers on Amazon.com have to say. Of course, I will be looking through and reading a great deal of these myself (mostly because they are so cool!).
I am really excited about getting more graphic novels for my library and I am curious to see if anyone else is already using them. I am currently stalking the web to find a good deal on the first two books in the Amulet series, as well as an adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. There are so many out there that I could use to pull my kiddos into reading...I'd be crazy not to try it!
Links about using graphic novels in the classroom: