Graphic Novels- More than Just Glorified Comic Books
Each new school year I can count on several things. First, I will have a wonderfully, diverse and energetic class. Second, I will grow to love and appreciate each one of them for the gifts they bring to our class. I can also count on having a few "dormant readers" (to coin a phrase from Donalyn Miller, author of The Book Whisperer Jossey-Bass, 2009). These are the students who have not yet been bitten by the reading bug. These students see reading as difficult and boring. They may choose a book for a few minutes and then return it to the shelf or pretend to read but are really just looking at the book (or the clock). They turn up their nose at book suggestions and never seem to finish any book they start.
This post is the first in a series of posts describing books I use to get dormant readers to take a step into the wonderful world of reading.
Graphic novels are GREAT books to start with. I call them "gateway books" because they really do open the reading "gate" for many students. Parents often feel that graphic novels are not "real" reading and all the students have to do is look at the pictures. This is an understandable concern. However, I have read many of these books and they are usually more complex than one would think and the pictures do not tell the entire story. In my opinion, any enjoyable interaction with a book is a positive step toward awakening dormant readers. What happens every year is students spend the first couple of months reading the graphic novels and then they move on to more complex and traditional books throughout the year.
Here are some graphic novel series that my students seem to enjoy...
So teachers and parents, if you have a student or child who has yet to discover the love of reading, try some graphic novels and open the reading gate!