Graphic Novels and Literacy


Graphic Novels and Literacy


Graphic novels offer an enticing way to show reluctant readers that reading can be fun. There are many benefits to offering graphic novels as one of the types of books kids can choose from. Here are a few:


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 expressions. Unless they are written for very young readers, graphic novels can use a wide range of vocabulary words, often supported by the graphics.


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 variety. 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. They 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 use of print in the speech bubbles conveys attitude and emotion
  • how the author shows attitude and emotion in how the characters are drawn
  • how various graphic styles affect the reader’s perceptions
  • how pictures can stereotype
  • how realism or the lack of it plays into the message of a work
This week’s book posts give several graphic novels to choose from. To expand your options, here are several online sources:
No Flying No Tights
School Library Journal
 Instructor Magazine
Association for Library Service to Children


Cooperative Children’s Book Center
 National Council of Teachers of English 
Getting Graphic: Connecting with Students Using Graphic Novels by Sharron L. McElmeel


Are graphic novels popular in your house? What are your family’s favorites?



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