Have you ever thought about using graphic novels (comic books) in your classroom? Though they are often seen as inferior to traditional forms of literature, graphic novels can be a great tool for teaching! They are great for engaging unenthusiastic readers and there are plenty of teachable concepts contained in them. Would you believe that graphic novels generally contain more advanced vocabulary than traditional books at the same reading or interest level? Students have to use context clues in the text and the pictures to decipher the meaning of those advanced words. In addition, metaphors and similes, symbolism, alliteration, puns, and varying points of view are also abundant in graphic novels.
If you are curious about learning more about using graphic novels in the classroom, check out this TEACHER’S GUIDE from Scholastic.
If you are ready to dive in and start using graphic novels with your students, the Scholastic teacher’s guide has several to offer. I would also like to suggest the Asterix series by Rene Goscinny. It has great tie-ins to history and plenty of material to support your literacy goals. Click here to check out my novel study for the twelfth book in the series, Asterix at the Olympic Games!
The Graphic Classroom has lists of highly recommended comics for a variety of ages.
ReadWriteThink has a lesson plan for grades 3-5 on using comics in the classroom to introduce genre study and another lesson plan to teach onomatopoeia (what better medium than comic books for this!).