Promoting Literacy with Graphic Novels

Graphic novels offer an enticing way to show reluctant readers
that reading can be fun. There are many arguments for offering graphic novels
to all kids (and adults!) as one of the types of books they can choose from.

The first few are the same reasons I use when promoting picture
books. This makes sense, since picture books and graphic novels are close

They are fun. Graphic novel authors know how
to deliver a great story in dialogue and lively graphics.

They are motivating. The
graphics draw us in and make us want to read on.

They often introduce new vocabulary and
Unless they are written for very young readers, graphic
novels can use a wide range of vocabulary words, often supported by the

They support reading
comprehension and visualization skills.
Some kids (and adults) have
difficulty visualizing as they read, which hampers reading comprehension.
Graphics offer clues that text alone can’t.

They introduce a variety of writing styles,
authors, and illustrators.
This can provide models for young
writers to try when writing their own stories. Encouraging your kids to write
their own graphic novels is highly recommended!

They offer a wide
There is a lot of variety in graphic novels:

  • in complexity of plot and graphics
  • in reading level
  • in interest level
  • in balance of humor, drama and insight

Teachers can use them
to teach.
offer a chance to analyze literary conventions, character development,
dialogue, satire, and language structures.

They can increase
awareness of how an author communicates.

  • how color affects emotions
  • how the types of print used in the speech bubbles convey attitude
    and emotion
  • how the author shows attitude and emotion in how the
    characters are drawn
  • how various graphic styles can affect the reader’s perceptions
  • how pictures can stereotype
  • how realism or the lack of it plays into the message of a


Children’s Book Center

Graphic: Connecting with Students Using Graphic Novels
Sharron L. McElmeel


book post gives many graphic novels to choose from. Can you
add to this list? Write your recommendations in the Comments Box!


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