This is one of a series of blog posts that continue the conversation around Still Learning to Read--teaching reading to students in grades 3-6. This series will run on the blog on Tuesdays starting in August 2016 and continue through the school year.
I looked around the room the other day and was struck by the number of students reading graphic novels. It made my heart happy. I have built our classroom collection of graphic novels over the past few years and have added so many quality titles and it was pretty incredible to see so many in the hands of my 3rd graders. I realized just how important these books have become to my 3rd grade readers.
Not only are students totally engaged in their reading but they are learning so many things about becoming a reader: Readers are finding new authors who they love. Raina Telgemeir, Dav Pilkey, Dan Santat and Jennifer Holm are authors they love and recognize. The books are making their rounds in the classroom without any guidance from me. Kids are being introduced to books with more complexity because they are willing to give new things a try when something is in graphic novel format.
Mary Lee and I have written about graphic novels quite often over the years. Looking back, I realized that it was in 2008 that I committed to reading graphic novels because I saw the power they have for kids. Over the past 8 years, I have become a more confident reader of graphic novels and have fallen in love with them myself. I have discovered so many amazing books and authors and am so glad I've been able to add so many to our classroom.
There are great resources out there for teachers and parents on the benefits of Graphic Novels. One is
Raising Super Readers: The Benefits of Comic Books and Graphic Novels from Scholastic and the other is Raising a Reader! How Comics and Graphic Novels Can Help Your Kids Love to Read with an introduction by Jennifer Holm Holm from CBLDF.
And if you need a great book talk on a graphic novel to share with your students, the amazing Livbits shares the amazingness of El Deafo and Cece Bell in one of her newest videos!