Collection Overview
Teacher Inquiry

Working with comics and graphic novels in the ELA classroom

In this collection

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Content type
Critical Pictures
By Mitch Nobis
Mitch Nobis of the Red Cedar Writing Project sees a growing need for critical visual literacy in a multimodal world, and so he takes his students on a one-week exploration of learning about, creating, and analyzing comics. Included are lesson plans, resource links, and student work examples.
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Content type
Writing With Pictures: Creating Comics in the Classroom
By Nick Kremer
Nick Kremer argues the value of the graphic novel and provides a step-by-step lesson plan for creating a sequential art narrative. Included are an instructional video, lesson plans, and recommended resources.
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Content type
Serious Comics
By Dave Boardman
Dave Boardman of the Maine Writing Project helps his students meet literacy standards and make connections between their rural school and the world by creating visual stories - video games, websites, graphic novels - about how people survive difficult times. He includes a link to one young woman’s blended genre graphic novel and discusses its significance.
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Content type
Redefining Text
By Bee Foster
4 Posts in this Collection

In this collection are four different windows into the use of comics and graphic novels in ELA classrooms. Although the students, purposes, and lessons are different, all the teachers share an interest in helping students see the relationship of story, word, and image in such a way that the notion of ‘text’ is expanded to include the multimodal experience of understanding through word and image both.

In “Critical Pictures,” teacher Mitch Nobis seeks to move his word-focused high school juniors into a new understanding of multimodal text. In “Writing With Pictures,” Nick Kremer wants his students to better understand the genre features of comics. Dave Boardman wants to push those conventions a little further and show how sequential graphics can be “Serious Comics,” while Bee Foster wants her students to work at “Redefining Text” more generally.

More readings are available if you wish to take a deeper dive:

 

  • Baetens, J. and Frey, H. (2014). The graphic novel: An introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Behler, A. (2006). Getting started with graphic novels: A guide for the beginner. Reference & User Services Quarterly46(2), 16-21.
  • Carter, J. B. (2008). Comics, the Canon, and the Classroom. In N. Frey, & D. Fisher (Eds.), Teaching visual literacy: Using comic books, graphic novels, anime, cartoons, and more to develop comprehension and thinking skills (pp. 47-60). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
  • Carter, J. B. (2009). Going Graphic. Educational Leadership, 68-72.
  • Carter, J. B. (2007). Transforming English with Graphic Novels: Moving toward Our “Optimus Prime”. The English Journal97(2), 49-53.
  • Chun, C. W. (2009). Critical Literacies and Graphic Novels for English-Language Learners: Teaching Maus. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy53(2), 144-153.
  • Cummins, J., Brown, K., & Sayers, D. (2007). Literacy, technology, and diversity: Teaching for success in changing times. Boston: Pearson.
  • Gillenwater, C. (2009). Lost Literacy: How Graphic Novels Can Recover Visual Literacy in the Literacy Classroom. Afterimage37(2), 33-36.
  • Griffith, P. E. (2010). Graphic Novels in the Secondary Classroom and School Libraries.Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy54(3), 181-189.
  • Hughes, J. M., King, A., Perkins, P., & Fuke, V. (2011). Adolescents and “Autobiographies”: Reading and Writing Coming-of-Age Graphic Novels. Journal of Adolescent & Adult LIteracy54(8), 601-612.
  • Kirtley, Susan E., Antero Garcia, and Peter E. Carlson, eds. With Great Power Comes Great Pedagogy: Teaching, Learning, and Comics, University of Mississippi Press, 2020.
  • Kluth, P. (2008). “It Was Always the Pictures…”. In N. Frey, & D. Fisher (Eds.), Teaching visual literacy: Using comic books, graphic novels, anime, cartoons, and more to develop comprehension and thinking skills (pp. 169-188). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
  • McClanahan, B. and Nottingham, M. “A Suite of Strategies for Navigating Graphic Novels: A Dual Coding Approach” in The Reading Teacher, 04 March 2019. https://doi.org/10.1002/trtr.1797
  • McTaggert, J. (2008). Graphic Novels: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. In N. Frey, & D. Fisher (Eds.), Teaching visual literacy: Using comic books, graphic novels, anime, cartoons, and more to develop comprehension and thinking skills (pp. 27-46). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
  • Moeller, R. A. (2011). “Aren’t These Boy Books?”: High School Students’ Reading of Gender in Graphic Novels. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy54(7), 476-484.
  • Monnin, K. (2010). Teaching graphic novels: Practical strategies for the secondary ELA classroom. Gainesville, FL: Maupin House Pub.
  • Wallace, C. (2001). Critical literacy in the second language classroom: Power and Control. In Negotiating critical literacies in classrooms (pp. 209-228). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Up next

Content type
Writing With Pictures: Creating Comics in the Classroom
By Nick Kremer
Nick Kremer argues the value of the graphic novel and provides a step-by-step lesson plan for creating a sequential art narrative. Included are an instructional video, lesson plans, and recommended resources.
Read more
Content type
Serious Comics
By Dave Boardman
Dave Boardman of the Maine Writing Project helps his students meet literacy standards and make connections between their rural school and the world by creating visual stories - video games, websites, graphic novels - about how people survive difficult times. He includes a link to one young woman’s blended genre graphic novel and discusses its significance.
Read more
Content type
Redefining Text
By Bee Foster