Monday, January 16, 2012

Graphic Novels Part 2

After my last blog post I reflected on my statement that there are many teachers that don’t let students read graphic novels.  As I kept replaying the words in my head I realized that students must be taught how to read a graphic novel.  It isn’t just looking at the pictures or reading the fewer words on the page.  Readers must closely look at the pictures, reread the words and infer what is happening in the “white” space between the pictures.  Teacher must realize that the graphic novel may be shorter or with more pictures, but if kids are reading them we must encourage more of the same behavior. 

In the new Choice Literacy newsletter there is an article that reinforces this.  Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan  write a wonderful article entitled Is "Just Right" Still Just Right?: Helping Children Select Appropriate Books   that addresses this fact.  We as teacher get so caught up in “levels” that we no longer see the reader.  Langrigan and Mulligan eloquently write that “just right” books are what we enjoy. (Sorry I know there is more to it than that, but that is my one sentence summary!)

Last week I had morning duty.  It is a fun 25 minutes outside on the playground where I get to visit with students. During my time outside I asked a student, from another class, what she was reading.  Her response, “I read a level 38!”  I replied, “Oh, but what is the title of the book?”  Again, “I’m a level 38.” When did Level 38 become a book?  Why are we as educators so concerned about reading levels and not joy of reading a book? (OK in reality educators that follow book blogs don’t fit in this category, but still….)
Stepping down from my
 I want to talk about two books from the Cybil’s Graphic Novels I received.  One is very much a guy book the other will be a hard sell, but totally worth it in the end.

I love the story of King Arthur, but in reality it is usually done by watching the story on TV or at the theatre.  Currently there are two versions on TV.  BBC is in its fourth season of Merlin, and Showtime has Camelot.  Guilty pleasure watching.  I was excited when I received Excalibur The Legend of King Arthur by Tony Lee and Sam Hart.  It is a great read.  The background story is told quickly, so that we can get right to the action. The illustrations are interesting and I really got into reading the story.  It is definitely a YA book.

When I was a kid my mom read me the Oz trilogy.  They were hers from when she was a little girl.  I remember looking forward to being read the stories.  Another book I really enjoyed during my judging was Ozma of Oz L. Frank Baum by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young.  This will be a hard sell for boys.  There is a girl with a large bow on the cover, so right off the bat there is a major hurdle to get over.  Trust me it is worth it.  The illustrations are fantastic.  Dorothy is definitely not a sweet little girl in this book.  Her ornery expressions made me laugh throughout the book.  Boys will kike the adventure part and the robot.  


Ms. Yingling said...

I think it is very true that students need to be taught to read graphic novels. I do have a decent number in my library, but it is very frustrating when students will ONLY check out graphic novels, and bring them back so quickly that they can't possibly have done anything but look at the pictures. Now, to find the time to sit down with these students and make sure they are reading the words as well as looking at the pictures!

Mary Lee said...

These are two I don't know! Thanks for sharing these new titles as well as your thoughts about teaching kids to really READ graphic novels.

Alysa said...

I agree that boys will love Ozma of Oz, and girls too! Here's hoping they read and love it, my nephew did!