Adventures in Graphica: Using Comics and Graphic Novels to Teach Comprehension, 2-6

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Overview

Comic books and graphic novels, known collectively as "graphica," have long been popular with teenagers and adults. Recently graphica has grown in popularity with younger readers as well, motivating and engaging some of our most reluctant readers who often shun traditional texts. While some teachers have become curious about graphica's potential, many are confused by the overwhelming number of new titles and series, in both fiction and nonfiction, and are unsure of its suitability and function in their classrooms.

Drawing on his own success using graphica with elementary students, literacy coach Terry Thompson introduces reading teachers to this popular medium and suggests sources of appropriate graphica for the classroom and for particular students. Taking cues from research that supports the use of graphica with students, Terry shows how this exciting medium fits into the literacy framework and correlates with best practices in comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency instruction. Adventures in Graphica contains numerous, easy-to-replicate, instructional strategies, including examples of how graphic texts can be used to create a bridge as students transfer abstract comprehension strategies learned through comics and graphic novels to traditional texts.

Adventures in Graphica provides a roadmap for teachers to the medium that the New York Times recently hailed as possibly "the next new literary form."

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Michael Jung
Elementary school teachers receive an informative primer for using comic books to teach reading skills in literacy coach Terry Thompson's Adventures in Graphica. Drawing from years of experience in working with K-5 students, Thompson explains how the popularity of comics—combined with proper lessons—can encourage kids, especially reluctant readers, English language learners, and visually oriented pupils, to take a more active role in developing their comprehension skills, vocabulary, and reading fluency. Teachers new to the comic book medium will be amazed by the variety of comic book genres Thompson lists (which include historical fiction, biographies, memoirs, and romance, as well as superhero stories). Even more impressive is the way Thompson shows how teachers can adapt comics to virtually any literacy lesson. In one example, Thompson's students build their vocabulary by analyzing the artwork and text in comic book panels to help visualize and comprehend unfamiliar words, such as "inferior" or "traverse." In another, students adapt chapter books into their own comics, enabling them to communicate their understanding of a text through words and visuals. Thompson also does a fine job of addressing common concerns teachers have in using comics in their classrooms—acknowledging that while some comics are meant for mature readers, teachers can still find appropriate comic books if they take an active role in learning about different comics by reading the books. The book ends with several informative appendices that provide a history of comics' relationship to academia, suggested reading lists, and even websites of publishers that produce comic books for kids.Reviewer: Michael Jung
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781571107121
  • Publisher: Stenhouse Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/5/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

1 You Got Comics? 1

2 The Lure of Graphica 15

3 A Word About the Research 23

4 Introducing the Conventions of Graphica 27

5 Endless Possibilities for Using Graphica 39

6 Comprehension, Comically 49

7 In the Mind's Eye: Making Mental Images and Inferring 71

8 Vocabulary, Visually 91

9 Fluency in the Funnies 103

10 Making the Right Choices 115

11 Troubleshooting 119

Afterword 131

App. A The History of Graphica 133

App. B Selection Guide 139

App. C Websites 141

App. D Suggested Titles 147

App. E Publishers Offering Graphica 157

App. F Comic Panel Sketch Templates 165

App. G Inferring Character Traits 167

App. H Vocabulary Template 173

App. I Speech Bubble Examples 175

References 177

Index 183

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