Thursday, December 27, 2012

Graphic Novels

Dear Nerdy Book Club Friends,

My students are reading more than ever. They are completing (and loving) books! I have never had a year where students are reading so much and I credit the 40 Book Challenge (thanks @donalynbooks) for their excitement.

I do worry about something I am seeing in the classroom - some of my readers are sticking solely to graphic novels. I have encouraged this because some of these readers are reluctant and the graphic novels have changed their opinion of reading. However, as we enter the new year, I would like my students to read different genres and read more text-only books. I wonder if I should even be feeling this way?

I have toyed with the idea of having a "No Graphic Novel Month", but that seems to violate the best practices for encouraging reading in my students.

So, I need your help! Have you experienced this? What are your solutions? Is this even a problem in your view? Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Ryan @rantryan


  1. I feel your pain, Ryan. I have a few students who are on this track, too. At the beginning of the year, they sort of exploded as readers, devouring every graphic novel they could find. They had never had a teacher before who valued ALL books (or who had so many GNs in the classroom). However, now some students have read every GN on my shelf, and all the good ones in the library. And now they are really struggling to move beyond.

    These are students who probably did read regular books last year. Grudgingly. But they've NEVER had as much FUN reading as they have this year. And if I'm associating reading with fun.

    I do have to remind myself often that I can't really complain about students "reading too much...", even if it is followed by "...graphic novels." Any time we say students are reading too much, it's a good thing, regardless of caveat.

    Still, I know exactly how you're feeling. There are SO MANY GOOD BOOKS, and most of them are not GN. I tell my GN-focused students, "I will keep looking for regular books for you. I WILL find some that you'll like." But I also say, I will support you reading whatever you want to read, as long as they will give my recommendations a chance.

    Personally, I wouldn't do a "No Graphic Novel Month." I don't think "No" is a good word for reading requirements. But maybe a "Traditional Text Challenge Month." Go for pages read, or something. My school has AR, which I mostly ignore (we take tests only as a way to keep track of what we've read and give ratings to books--it is not part of any grade or assessment), but there is a thing that shows how many words a student has read. A Word Read challenge would work great, since GNs have so few words, students would have to branch out to progress in the challenge.

    Let me know if you figure out a way to get them reading something else.

  2. Why not make them alternate? Once they finish a graphic novel then they have to read a traditional text. I do this with my son. He's a good reader, but he LOVES comic books. I love that you encourage graphic novel reading. Kids don't get to do this enough in my school.

  3. Thanks Tamson. I went with my heart - I did not limit them or say certain genres were off limits. I have just encouraged students to try new things and it is working with many. I think we need to encourage this type of reading and glad you agree. Happy for your son too!