A new school year is approaching and it’s the perfect time to reassess your classroom library.
Do you have books that you love, but haven’t been picked up by a student in years?
Do you have books that are so well-loved that they lose pages every time they are read?
Or do you just need some new suggestions to keep your student readers engaged?
Whatever your classroom needs, I am here to suggest that you make sure you have at least a few graphic novels on hand.
When I was first introduced to graphic novels during my university years, my professor mentioned that some people didn’t see any value in them.
This is not how I feel. At all. For me, graphic novels have so many fantastic qualities.
1) They are aesthetically pleasing (insert: less overwhelming)
Let’s be honest. When choosing a book, some students - especially reluctant readers - get overwhelmed when they flip through a novel and find page after page of text. The appealing visual aspects of graphic novels allow students to quickly get a feel for the story in a less daunting way.
2) They can cover serious topics in an accessible way
From bullying to illness, while some graphic novels are full of fun, lighthearted adventures, many others tackle daunting issues that students may face.
3) They help students learn to make inferences
In graphic novels, so much must be left to the reader to infer because of the limited space for text and graphics. When students scan from panel to panel, they must be able to follow the story and think beyond what is explicitly shown. This is great practice for making inferences in novels that strictly contain the written word.
4) They engage reluctant readers
Students who struggle with reading often become discouraged when choosing texts at their level, especially as they move into the intermediate grades. They often want to read the same books as their peers, rather than stick out by reading books that appear too "babyish." Just as with picture books, the images in graphic novels allow struggling students to follow the plot, but with more mature texts.
**BONUS** In recent years, some popular novels have been getting rereleased as graphic novels. Struggling readers are now able to access some popular series that they may not have been able to in the past and I think that is just fantastic.
Percy Jackson & the Olympians, The Baby-Sitters Club, and A Wrinkle in Time are just a few books/series that have recently been transformed into graphic novels.
5) They get kids reading
From struggling readers to students reading well beyond grade level, I have found that most of my students thoroughly enjoy graphic novels. Students often eagerly form their own waitlists for popular graphic novels from our classroom library and I could not be more thrilled. After all, don’t we want our students to develop a genuine love of reading?