So for this reflection, I want to take the time to point out a few other resources that might be useful for using comics to engage school-age and teenage students in a variety of literacy skills.
Although I wasn’t able to read these books, they were recommended to me by a very intelligent and well-read professor who is also just so happens to have a lot of knowledge regarding comics…
Building Literacy Connections with Graphic Novels by James Bucky Carter (2007) published by the National Council of Teachers of English
Teaching Visual Literacy: Using Comic Books, Graphic Novels, Anime, Cartoons and More to Develop Comprehension and Critical Thinking Skills by Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher (2008) published by Corwin
Graphic Novels in Your Media Center: A Definitive Guide by Allyson Lyga and Barry Lyga (2004) published by Libraries Unlimited
Reading with Pictures: Comics that Make Kids Smarter edited by Josh Elder (2014) published by Andrews McMeel Publishing
The Graphic Novel Classroom: POWerful Teaching and Learning by Maureen Bakis (2014) published by Skyhorse Publishing.
The first part of this website from Scholastic about using Graphic Novels with Children & Teens is a very basic and underwhelming run-down of the typical reasons comics are justified as “worthy” of use with children. Things get a bit more interesting with the section “What are the benefits of studying graphic novels as a format.” This section is followed by a plethora of resources including links to websites about comics, considerations for teachers in studying the artwork and prompting book discussions, books and websites for teachers regarding the use of graphic novels in the classroom, and some recommended titles. Not surprisingly most of the professional resources and recommended titles are published by Scholastic.
And finally, some informational comics for kids about Information Literacy & Media Literacy.
The WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) publishes digital content including comics. Their publications are aimed at teaching 8-12 year olds intellectual property concepts including copyright. Although their comics are a bit didactic and “after-school special,” they’re clear in their explanation of intellectual property.
Orca Publishes a few graphic novels to teach young readers about social and global issues in their Graphic Guide Adventure series. Of relation to media literacy, they have published Media Meltdown (O’Donnell, L. 2009), about a group of kids who discover the influence that media and media stake-holders have over the dissemination of information and news.
And here are the online comic makers that I recommended:
EDIT: I had a middle of the night revelation, and thought to include a fun game that might be played with kids, tweens, and teens. It’s called exquisite corpse. There are many variations that have been played so I want to share the version that I know best and is a fun way of supporting visual literacy skills.
To play you need at least 3 people (there really isn’t a limit to the number of players but 6 or so is probably the upper limit), paper, and a pen (or pencil, markers, anything to write with).
Alternating words and text, each player takes a turn adding the next type of component- if they’re reading text then they add an image, and if they’re looking at an image they’re going to add text. The first person starts off writing a sentence than includes at least one noun, verb, and adjective. The next player is charged with drawing what the sentence says. After folding the paper so that only their drawing is showing, they pass it to the next player who then studies the image and writes a sentence that they believe best describes what they’re viewing. After folding the paper so that only their sentence is showing, they pass it to the next person who draws what the sentence says. After drawing, they fold the paper so only their drawing is visible and pass it along to the next player. This continues until either each player has had a turn or there is no more space on the paper.
When you’re finished, unfold the paper so the entire progression of the story unfolds. It’s fun to see how each image and sentence was interpreted and represented for the next person! Was there a component that remained constant? Were adjectives (or verbs and nouns) interpreted and transmitted or did they transform? How did the text and images transform and where were the biggest turning points?
This game can be modified for younger children in that a single word (noun, verb, or adjective.. Though noun will be easiest) is used instead of a whole sentence. It can also be played with just drawings, where in each person takes a turn adding either head, torso, legs, and feet to a body, still hiding the previously added components from future players.
What a wonderful semester, thank you for being such great colleagues. I’m looking forward to working and seeing you all professionally. Thank you, thank you!