Shannon Maughan provides an enlightening and informative insight on the rising use of graphic novels in classrooms and school libraries.
The article explains that 60% of the population are visual learners and educators are just now teaching in a way that includes that mode of learning. Graphic novels have been a monumental help for young readers who are hesitant or struggling with a huge block of text. Maughan points out that comics contain the same story driven elements of non-visual books like a plot, conflict, and overall purpose, but format it in a more entertaining way. Karen Gavigan, associate professor at the University of South Carolina’s School of Library and Information Science, states, “Kids live in a media sphere where everything is visual. This is the format they value.”
There have been many advocates supporting the new graphic comic wave. The Children’s Book Council’s Graphic Novel Advisory Group, in particular, collaborated with Comic-Con to create programming and offer free panels for teachers and librarians on how to teach with graphic novels. Regarding Comic-Con’s growing interest in educational comics, John Shableski, VP of sales at Udon Entertainment says, “They see the long tail of this market. It stopped being just about superheroes a long time ago.”
Not every teacher or school administrator is on board with incorporating graphic novels, but the future looks incredibly bright. Publishers are working to create reading diversity and Papercutz, a large graphic novel press, is working on “‘relationship-driven stories’ aimed at tween girls.” First Second, another comic press, is creating a graphic novel for every subject, beginning with their science series pictured above.
There are numerous resources available to teachers to help ease the process of introducing graphic novels and even assistance to address weary administrators and parents, but educators, librarians, publishers, authors, and illustrators all agree comics are here to stay. •
Read the article in its entirety here.