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Graphic Novel Justification

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Stephanie Baker

on 9 January 2015

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Transcript of Graphic Novel Justification

We are applying to the Joanne de Groot Library Foundation to increase our collection of graphic novels in the library.
We have looked hard at ways to improve the reading scores and overall success of students in our building.
We have been reviewing circulation statistics in our library. Frankly, it was quite disappointing.
Students are just not taking out many books.
When forced to take out books, during library classes, most books come back unread. Many of our books are sitting on the shelves collecting dust.
Next, we looked at what was being checked out most regularly. The books that are literally falling apart, are the graphic novels.
Our school has a small collection of graphic novels and these are in high demand.
Engaging boys in reading is often a struggle at Philmund. These graphic novels have opened their eyes to a new genre of books.

Research indicates that boys are not illiterate, but aliterate, that is, boys can and do read, but they reject the type of reading that is typically endorsed in school (Laycock, 2007, p. 13).
A graphic novel frenzy has overtaken the school and we have devoured every available graphic novel in the building!

At Philmund, graphic novels have been very popular with English Language Learners (ELL).

Graphic novels can improve language development of alternate language learners. The illustrations provide visual context clues to the meaning of the written narrative (Crawford, 2004).
Reading, as with most skills, improves with practice. Students must practice the skill of reading constantly. In order to do this, they must have interesting and engaging texts, at their level, in order to further develop their skills.
There are so many benefits to using graphic novels.
My Dyslexia makes reading regular novels difficult.
Studies have shown that engagement with graphic novels has increased the reading interests among students with disabilities. Research in learning and brain activity shows that we engage both the back and frontal cortex functions of the brain as we create meaning with the use of visuals, making this type of learning highly brain-compatible (Moeller, 2013, p.13).
I understand things better when I read them in a graphic novel.
I like the way the pictures help me visualize the story.
“Visual literacy is exactly the same kind of process as what you need to do to be able to make sense out of words. You use inference, you use deductions, you make connections in your head, you predict the future, and you empathize with the characters. All of those things are what reading is. Reading is not phonics; it’s actually constructing a story in your head” (Bringelson Glass, 2010, p.23).

Reading graphic novels helps me see myself as a reader.
“Fourth- and fifth-grade students, emboldened by their reading of long graphic novels like Jeff Smith’s Bone and Larry Gonick’s Cartoon History of the Universe, are now attempting sophisticated prose fiction." (Seyfried, 2008, p.48)

"School librarians and classroom teachers are realizing the immense benefits of graphic media for stimulating literacy and delivering engaging and differentiated instruction" (Samet, 2010, p.12).

graphic sources...


"Students who read independently become better readers, score higher on achievement tests in all subject areas, and have greater content knowledge than those who do not" (Cullinan, 2000).

Cullinan, B. E. (2000). American Library Association (United States, Department of Education). Retrieved from
Circulation of graphic books is consistently high. Although they make up a much smaller portion of collections, proportionately they have a greater circulation than fiction (Young, 2007).

At Philmund Elementary, graphic novels currently make up less than 3% of our collection but 17% of our circulation. By contrast, fiction makes up 20% of our collection and only 7% of our circulation (Simmonds, K. 2013).
Young, R. (2007). Graphically Speaking: The Importance of Graphic Books in a School Library Collection. Library Media Connection, 25(4), 26-28.
Crawford, P. (2004). A Novel Approach: Using Graphic Novels to Attract Reluctant Readers and Promote Literacy. Library Media Connection, 22(5), 26-28.
To read about our plans to promote our new collection visit, Promoting Graphic Novels, on our school web page.

Laycock, D. (2007). Going graphic: Using graphic novels to engage boys in school reading. Access (10300155), 21(1), 13-17
"Researchers have demonstrated that graphic novels help make the curriculum more relevant for students..." (Moeller, 2013, p.13).
Independent Reading and School Achievement

"The amount of free reading done outside of school has consistently been found to relate to growth in vocabulary, reading comprehension, verbal fluency, and general information" (Cullinan, 2000).
"The speed with which graphic novels have taken hold in the children's book industry and their increasing popularity with children and teens is perhaps a testament to a growing recognition of the needs and interests of visual learners" (Horning, 2010, p.34).
Moeller, R. A. (2013). CONVINCING THE NAYSAYERS .. Knowledge Quest, 41(3), 12-17. Retrieved from http://login.ezproxy.library.ualberta.ca/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1270846830?accountid=14474
Seyfried, J. (2008). Graphic Novels as Educational Heavyweights. Knowledge Quest, 36(3), 44-48.
Bringelson, C., & Glass, N. (2010). Comics in the Educational Sphere. School Library Monthly, 26(10), 23.
Samet, R. (2010). Get graphic novels into your elementary collection. School Library Monthly, 26(5), 12-13. Retrieved from http://login.ezproxy.library.ualberta.ca/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/237137385?accountid=14474
Simmonds, K. (2013, July 18) Personal interview
You can see our school has an immense need to reach many of our students in their literacy goals. Graphic novels are crucial for the diverse literacy needs of our students. Your contribution will ensure the future success of our students.
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