Book Trailers – Responding to literature using digital media. 

Responding to literature using digital media.

Book trailers are often referred to as audiovisual representations of texts (Gron, 2014, p. 91).  Gron (2017) defines reader’s book trailers as a pedagogical tool to promote literary learning and multimodal literacy (p.94). These trailers are very different to the ones produced by authors and publishers for promotional purposes.  Author and publisher produced trailers are more inline with movie trailer characteristics as they both seek to lure rather than show the user’s understanding and comprehension of the text (Gron, 2014).   

Book trailers (BT) can range from complex short digital stories with interactive media, to simple slideshows of still images, to animated videos using claymation (Tobin, 2012, p43).  Predominantly used for fictional texts, BT have also recently been used as literary analysis for non fiction resources, as well as essays and other multimodal texts (Tobin, 2012, p.40).  They provide a useful way of integrating ICT in the classroom and provide a digital alternative to literary circles and book reports (Bernardo, 2019).   Reader’s book trailers work in a similar manner to literature circles, as they provide a space for students to engage with the text and to form connections between the text, the world and themselves.  Gron (2014) points out that BT offer a synopsis of the text through the perspective of the reader, which will differ depending on the reader’s own knowledge bank and the connections they make to the text and real life (p.95).  They provide an audiovisual depiction of the text from the lens of the reader, with their perspective and understanding as influences (Gron, 2017, p.93).  

Within a classroom, book trailers are flexible as a teaching tool or as an assessment piece (Tobin, 2012, p.40).    They can be used as enticement, as a tool to engage students at the commencement of a unit, or as a comprehension task at the culmination of one.  BT’s strongest efficacy is at the culmination of a unit, but often the idea of creating a BT can be an enticement for students to participate in the course.  There are three main educational benefits to using book trailers in the classroom.  They include, promoting engagement with the text and reading in general, as well as increasing comprehension, understanding and analysis of the text.  They are also an ideal activity for collaborative learning groups.  Lastly, BT increase critical thinking, visual literacy, social and emotional literacy as well as improve multimodal literacy of students.  

Book trailers can be used for narrative and expository texts (Tobin, 2012, p.47).  Their format engages students in the task and the successful completion of the trailer provides intrinsic motivation for reading as a pleasurable activity (Ginsberg, 2013; Festa, 2017).  The creation of a BT requires the reader to delve into the book, identify and analyse key events, themes and character development (Tobin, 2012, p.48).  This analysis of texts, especially fictitious ones, can lead to a cognitive change, which also provides additional motivation for reading. 

 Students need to summarise the story into key events and stages, analyse how these events affected the story as a whole and their own understanding of it (Bernardo, 2019). They also need to be able to understand the genre of the text, and ensure that the trailer is consistent with the author’s intent (Gron, 2014, p.92).  Festa (2017) points out that illustrations need to be evaluated for their effectiveness, which is especially important when creating a BT for picture books.  

Student learning is heightened within social contexts, and the literary efficacy of book trailers is increased by collaborative group work.  This is based upon Vygotsky’s socio-cultural theory, that learning in student-centred environments is more successful than in isolation (Tobin, 2012).  Collaborative groups are ideal for the implementation of BT, as they allow for the exchange of ideas, discussion of themes, events and character development which leads to optimum understanding of the text and topic. (Tobin, 2012, p. 41).   Dialogue and discussion is very important when deliberating over social and moral issues, as well as when evaluating author’s bias, veracity and use of literary devices.  

When working in collaborative learning groups, it is optimum that students are assigned a specific role or task to complete (Tobin, 2012, p.41).  Whilst many students may prefer to make their own collaborative learning groups, teachers ideally create diverse learning groups and assign roles to ensure that the task is equitably distributed.  This is especially important if the BT is used for summative assessment purposes.  Group selection can be intentional, or via a method of random allocation.  Working in collaborative groups also meets curriculum outcomes within the General Capabilities – Personal and Social Capabilities, as it promotes interpersonal skills and allows students to develop effective strategies for interacting with their peers (ACARA, 2014a).  

By allocating roles, each student is given a purposeful direction to interact with the text and an active role in their learning.  This orchestration gives the student ownership of the final product and thus promotes engagement with the task and the text.  Festa (2017) suggests that students complete a reflection of the task, peer review and a self evaluation of their own efficiency and efficacy as an assessment tool (p.109-110).  But caution should be used if BT are to be considered a summative assessment if there is an inequitable access to personal devices.  

The inclusion of book trailers in education increases critical thinking, visual and multimodal literacy as it provides a social context to develop these 21st century skills (Tobin, 2012, p. 41, Festa, 2017, p.112).  At its core, BT are essentially a miniature inquiry task as it requires the students to work on their metacognitive processes to ensure that planning, implementing and evaluation occurs appropriately (Tobin, 2012, p.42).  Inquiry tasks are an accepted teaching practice and  often used as a pedagogical method to build critical thinking and critical literacy in students (Tobin, 2012, P.42). 

Technology has often been cited as a method of engaging students in the classroom, and BT allow students to use their devices for legitimate learning activities (Moore & Cahill, 2016).  Since the actual act of creating a book trailer requires students to convert a written literary source into an audiovisual production, it obliges the creators to combine images, sound and texts together using some form of digital software (Gron, 2014, p.91; Festa, 2017, p.112).  In constructing these trailers, students become creators as well as users of digital media (Festa, 2017, p.112).  This transfer of representation can be difficult for some students therefore, teachers will be required to facilitate learning by providing scaffolding to increase personal imagination and interpretation of text (Gron, 2014, p.98).  

From a practical perspective, there are specific steps that are necessary when creating a book trailer.  The first step is to ensure that students have read and understood the text, either in a group read- aloud or individually. Picture books are consummate for book trailers.  Research has shown that picture books can be used to teach older students multiliteracies, curriculum content and broach sensitive subjects (Marsh, 2010).  Their format promotes the action of ‘reading aloud’ and their brevity creates a sense of security for reluctant readers and students with low literacy.  Many sophisticated picture books are an ideal for BTs within classroom practice.    They provide a valid alternative as a class text for disinterested teens, reluctant readers, students with low literacy and those that do not speak English at home (Marsh, 2010). 

Book trailers require the reader to connect the text to the real world and themselves as part of their reader response.   Some students may struggle with the disconnect between a physical book and digital book trailer (Gron, 2014, p. 97).  This means that students need to envision the text in an alternate setting to a book as they both use different languages (Gron, 2014, p.97). This envisaging can be difficult for some students and that is why collaborative groups are essential in tasks such as this (Gron, 2014, p.97).  Additionally, the format and illustrations of picture books gives students with minimum faculty for imagination a starting point for structuring their BT (Tobin, 2012, p.42).    A storyboard template can be used as a scaffold for students to set and frame their scenes as well as provide a sense of direction for the task (Tobin, 2012, p.43).   These templates can be paper  or digital.  Suggestions for online storyboard sites include Canva, Wideo, Comicmaker and The Plot.  Paper templates can be downloaded from here

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 The role of the teacher or teacher librarian when using book trailers is in a support function.  Teachers are required primarily to support discourse by providing a series of questions that provoke dialogue (Tobin, 2012, p.45).  They are also required to facilitate the creation of collaborative learning groups and provide scaffolding for the student’s ICT capabilities.  The latter is important as students often get distracted when using their personal devices and teachers will be required to redirect if the distraction proves to be recurrent (Tobin, 2012, p.45).  Teachers may also be required to monitor the creation of BT to ensure that they are complying with school policy and legislation requirements.  

Teacher librarians can support classroom teachers and students by providing additional technological assistance and information regarding the use of creative common images and copyright laws (Earp, 2017).  This may be required in higher levels for teachers who are less sure of their own computer proficiency.  Using book trailers as a teaching and learning activity can bolster both the teacher and the student’s multimodal capabilities.

Book trailers are not the literary derivative of movie trailers.  Rather it is a valid reader response strategy to texts studied in classes across the curriculum.    The inclusion of book trailers into teaching and learning has many educational benefits and is an excellent way of incorporating meaningful use of digital technologies into the classroom.  Whilst a fairly new method, there is ample scope to include this multimodal literary learning strategy within the curriculum.  Book trailers are an excellent method of illustrating the reader’s comprehension and analysis whilst increasing interpersonal skills and boosting multimodal literacy.  

 

References: 

ACARA. (2014a). Personal and social capability. General Capabilities Curriculum.  Educational Services Australia. Retrieved from https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/general-capabilities/personal-and-social-capability/

Bernardo, M. (2019). Book trailer project – step by step guide. English Teaching 101. Retrieved from https://englishteaching101.com/book-trailer-project/

Earp, Jo. (2017). Secondary English – creating book trailers. Teacher.  Retrieved from https://www.teachermagazine.com.au/articles/secondary-english-creating-book-trailers

Festa, K. (2017). The book trailer project: Media production within an integrated classroom. Journal of Media Literacy Education. 9 (2), 105-113. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.uri.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1284&context=jmle

Ginsberg, R. (2013). Voices from the Classroom – Young adult literature in the 21st century. The ALAN Review. Retrieved from https://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/ALAN/v40n2/pdf/ginsberg.pdf

Gron, R. (2014). Literary experience and the book trailer as intermedial paratext. Interdisciplinary Journal of Sound and Sound Experience. 4. (1). Retrieved from https://www.soundeffects.dk/article/view/20330/17917

Marsh, D. (2010). The case for picture books in secondary schools. Lianza, 51(4), 27. Retrieved from https://doms.csu.edu.au/csu/file/f7b0a0c2-d0c5-4ba3-8644-6955ea9850b6/1/marsh-d.pdf

Moore, J., & Cahill, M. (2016). Audiobooks; Legitimate ‘reading’ material for adolescents? Research Journal of the American Association of School Librarians. Retrieved from www.ala.org/aasl/slr/volume19/moore-cah

Tobin, M. (2012). Digital storytelling: Reinventing literature circles. Fischer College of Education. 12. NSU. Retrieved from https://nsuworks.nova.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=fse_facarticles

 

Multiliteracies – Being literate across multiple formats.

Literacy is influenced by social, cultural and technological change and the information revolution has increased the modes of communication available for children, teenagers and adults alike.  (Anstey & Bull, 2006, p.24).  As technology evolves, social and cultural practices need to adapt to this new paradigm. 

To be an active and informed citizen individuals need to be multiliterate.  This means a person needs to be confident in a range of literacies, across a variety of modes and able to translate those skills across all sectors of their life  (Anstey & Bull, 2006, pp. 19-22).  In order to have mastery with these multiple literacies, individuals need to be able to adapt their practices to suit the whichever context is available (Anstey & Bull, 2006, p.20).  

Anstey & Bull (2006) have summarised the skills of a multiliterate person: 


As the diagram above shows, a person’s ability to be multiliterate (ML) is also multifaceted.  A ML person is able to determine the context of work and then instinctively switch to the literacy that best suits that mode of communication, for example, reading an email to watching a TikTok video, to listening to an audiobook.  This flexibility is essential in modern society and requires the reader, or text user, to be able to alternate between different forms of text that may present in daily life.  

What does this mean for pedagogical practice?  

The notion of text has evolved significantly over the past few decades.  I have mentioned this shift in a previous blog post about literature in digital environments.  Therefore, a shift in text types means there needs to be a shift in literacy based pedagogical practices (Anstey & Bull, 2006).  Remember literacy is influenced by social, cultural and technological change (Anstey & Bull, 2006)! 

Hepple, Sockhill, Tan & Akford (2014) point out that since language and literacy exist within the ACARA’s multiliteracy framework, there is firm mandate to include multimodal texts within educational practice.  Anstey & Bull (2006) concur, and believe that pedagogy to promote multiliteracy needs to address the changing nature of texts, that literature is learned in a social context and critical literacy is essential for informed action.  

Within classroom practice Anstey & Bull (2006) argues the importance of balancing the variety of genres and formats for teaching and learning purposes.  Whereas Hepple, Sockhill, Tan & Akford (2014) believe that long term exploration of texts across the curriculum using text exemplars and features, as well as the explicit teaching of semiotics and critical thinking are better suited to student learning.   

Anstey & Bull (2006) emphasis the fact that literacy identity is pivotal to multiliteracy (p. 36).   As literate practices are linked to social and cultural development, literacy identity is the combination of experiences from both the real world and the school world (Anstey & Bull, 2006).  By being aware of their own literacy identity, a person consciously understands their own abilities to decode a set of resources and their faculty for critical literacy (Anstey & Bull, 2006).  Hepple, Sockhill, Tan & Akford (2014) point out that the best results for teaching multiliteracies occur when it is taught using active learning and a student centred approach (p.220). 

Critical literacy is a tenet of multiliteracy (Anstey & Bull, 2006, p.37).  This is based upon the fact that students are exposed to a variety of texts from all contexts of life including, education, employment, social and recreation.  But not all texts hold equal authority.  Accuracy and validity are not guaranteed, and students need to learn to be able to differentiate between reliable resources and false information, especially on the internet.  By exposing students to a range of texts from a trusted adult like a teacher or teacher librarian, through literary learning or via book bento boxes and book trailers, they are given opportunities to develop their critical and multimodal literacy with the hope of translating those skills to life outside the classroom  (Anstey & Bull, 2006, p.38).  

 

References:

Anstey, M., & Bull, G. (2006). Teaching and learning multiliteracies: Changing times, changing literacies . Newark, Del.: International Reading Association. 

Hepple, E., Sockhill, Tan, A. & Akford, J. (2014). Multiliteracies pedagogy: Creating claymations with adolescent post-beginner English language learners. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 58(3), 219-229. https://doi-org.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/10.1002/jaal.339

Book Bento Boxes – A fun reader response strategy.

Book Bento Boxes. 

The name intrigued me immediately.  I began to imagine miniature books presented artistically in a bamboo box.  Then I remembered how un-artistic I am and the most creative experience I have had lately is using blue eyeliner instead of the stock standard black. Then I began to get hungry.  

But I digress.  Here is a Book Bento Box I prepared earlier using physical items. 

Cover reproduced with permission from Kokoda: Teen edition by Peter FitzSimons, Hachette Australia, 2016.

Book bento boxes (BBB) is a multimodal and interactive reader response strategy to literature that promotes visual literacy, critical thinking and multiliteracy (Bales & Saint-John, 2020; Anstey & Bull, 2005).  According to Bales (2018), BBB are adaptable and can be used at the beginning of a novel study to predict the events, in the middle to explain critical features or themes, or at the end of a unit of work to show understanding and comprehension. Most commonly used within the English curriculum, BBB can be successfully adapted to use across other disciplines for teaching and inquiry learning (Bales & Saint-John, 2020).  

The concept underpinning book bento boxes is straightforward. Common household items or images are artistically arranged and used as points of reference for significant themes or events within the text (Bales & Saint-John, 2020).  Their simplicity and scope for differentiation makes BBB an excellent strategy for capturing understanding in a formal or informal setting (Bales, 2018). 

Far different from traditional book reports, BBB provides an alternative and creative method for promoting discourse (Anstey & Bull, 2006, p. 22).  It allows the student to engage with the text and respond in a manner that utilises their own knowledge bank and best suits their abilities, as each reader’s comprehension of the text will differ to their peers due to the disparity in views, perspectives and mental acuity (Derewianka, 2015). 

We have acknowledged that discourse is important for improving student understanding and success and the traditional method for discourse has been literature circles and book reports.   I have previously discussed this in other blog posts, for example The books we read aloud are the ones that resonate the most so I will leave it here.  BBB are an ideal reader response strategy for high school classrooms as they can be easily differentiated for diverse learners and promote multimodal literacy.     

Here is a Book Bento Box I prepared using digital images (all with CC 4.0 or 2.0).  

 BBB can range from simple posters, to interactive digital images with embedded links for videos and external websites (Bales, 2018).  They can be created individually or in collaborative learning groups, for teaching and learning as well as for assessment purposes.  

Pre tech days of the old school poster.

 

Remember the poster presentation from days before Powerpoint? In the world before Powerpoint and mobile devices, students would create posters using cardboard, paper, coloured pens and magazine collages.   This BBB option is still available for young children, or older students with minimal access to devices and software.  In most Australian secondary schools, many students have access to mobile devices such as laptops or smartphones, so they are able to create digital images with or without embedded interactive features.  By including annotations or a rationale with their work, the reader is able to justify the inclusion of their supporting items and thus illustrate their knowledge and understanding of the text (Bales & Saint-John, 2020).  

The process to create a book bento box is quite simple and more detail instructions are here:

  1. Select a text.  
  2. Select items  or images that correspond to themes or events in the text.
  3. Arrange the items as artistically as possible. 
  4. Take a photo.
  5. Edit the photo either using Powerpoint or your camera filters.
  6. Upload the image to Thinglink or you can keep using Powerpoint or Prezi or a poster. 
  7. Add the interactive features (if desired).
  8. Add annotations or rationale (if desired). 
  9. Share to learning management systems and emails (if desired).

So why is there a need to implement BBB into teaching and learning?  Why change things up?  

To put it simply, the reading paradigm has changed and therefore pedagogy must also change to support students in this new world (Mangen, Walgermo & Bronnick, 2013).   As mentioned earlier, there are sufficient pedagogical reasons to use book bento boxes in teaching and learning.  Firstly, exposure to a variety of good quality texts  embedded across the curriculum has been proven to extend ICT capabilities, intensify engagement, improve cognition, boost emotional development and increase recall.  By using this reader response strategy, students are increasing their visual literacy, critical thinking and consequently multiliteracy capabilities.  It is also a whole lot of fun!!

 

References:

Anstey, M., & Bull, G. (2006). Teaching and learning multiliteracies: Changing times, changing literacies . Newark, Del.: International Reading Association. 

Bales, J. (2018, September 23). Book Bento Boxes. [Blog]. Retrieved from https://jenniebales.wordpress.com/2018/09/24/book-bento-boxes/

Bales, J., & Saint-John, L. (2020) Book Bento Boxes: Creative reading response. SCAN, 39. Retrieved from https://education.nsw.gov.au/teaching-and-learning/professional-learning/scan/past-issues/vol-39-2020/book-bento-boxes–creative-reading-response

Derewianka, B. (2015). The contribution of genre theory to literacy education in Australia. In J. Turbill, G. Barton & C. Brock (Eds.), Teaching Writing in Today’s Classrooms: Looking back to looking forward (pp. 69-86). Norwood, Australia: Australian Literary Educators’ Association. Retrieved from https://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2620&context=sspapers

Mangen, A., Walgermo, B. R. & Bronnick, K.A. (2013). Reading linear texts on paper versus computer screen: Effects on reading comprehension. International Journal of Educational Research, 58, 61-68.doi:10.1016/j.ijer.2012.12.002

Book Bento – Kokoda by Peter Fitzsimons.

 

Interactive Images:

I have already completed my review of Peter Fitzsimons’ masterpiece “Kokoda”.  But whilst I was drifting across social media I came upon the idea of Book Bento Boxes.  Now these are quite fascinating so I had a play creating one using  Powerpoint and Thinglink.

I am pleasantly surprised… stay tuned for a more comprehensive analysis of book bentos and their application in teaching and learning.

 

 

Book Review – Olivia Twist by Strauss, Dalva, Vieceli and Loughridge.

Title:

Olivia Twist

Authors and Illustrators:

Darin Strauss, Adam Dalva, Emma Vieveli and Lee Loughridge.

Published by:

Dark Horse Publishers (2019).

Olivia Twist is a dystopian graphic novel parody of the Dickens classic ‘Oliver Twist” that is set in futuristic 2050 London, where society is racially divided and the politically strong have a dependence on artificial intelligence.  This particular edition is a compilation of four consecutive stories.  Fans of the Dickens narrative would be able to easily identify the several similarities between the traditional version and this text, including the inclusion of characters such as Mr Beedle, Fagin, Artful Dodger and the presence of violent street gangs.   

This GN Olivia Twist is a very complex text.  The illustrations are brilliant, and much of the storyline is coded within the visual elements.  The use of colour, line and framing causes the reader to become immersed in the storyline.  As the plot contains several twists and turns, the reader is forced to question the direction of the narrative and make predictions as to the actions of the protagonist.  The text contains several attributes that appeal to teenagers.  Obviously the predominating feature is that this is a graphic novel.  Graphic novels are very popular with children and teenagers, and their multimodality promotes the development of 21st century skills such as visual literacy, critical thinking and intertextuality (Botzakis, 2018). Furthermore, this dystopian text breaks gender stereotypes, contains elements of Bildungsroman, and promotes moral development.  

As a fan of the original version, I found it difficult to read this text without comparing it to the original novel.  Additionally, my visual literacy is still emerging so decoding the images and illustrations required more time and effort than I expected.  I had to read this GN a few times to understand it properly and to see all of its different layers.  This book would be suitable for students over the age of 14 due to the presence of swearing and frequent depictions of violence.  This GN meets English curriculum links  in years 9 and 10 and would make an excellent substitute or alternative novel study to Huxley’s Brave New World, Dashner’s Maze Runner and Collins’ Hunger Games.  

Graphic novels (GN) are an excellent addition to school library collections. When used in educational practices, GN fosters comprehension and increases recall.   As the text is supported by images, GN are ideally suited to students with developing literacy (Botzakis, 2018).  Their visual permanence means that the reader can choose their own reading pace and allows them to re-read as needed. But just reading GN does not mean that the students’ literacy levels will instinctively improve.  GN requires the reader to make inferences, which promotes high order thinking, as well as providing contextual information to the reader  (Botzakis, 2018).  Their complex nature means that educators need to teach decoding and comprehending GN the same way as they teach traditional texts (Botzakis, 2018).  

Good GN possess traditional narrative features such as an overarching theme, depth of plot, character development and use of literary devices (Gonzales, 2016).  Additionally, they also have classic film elements such as line, colour, focus, transitioning and framing (Gonzales, 2016). One of the discerning factors between a literary GN and a comic strip is the depiction of women (Gonzales, 2016).  Unlike vintage comics where the female characters resemble wasp shaped Amazons that may or may not have floss for brains, modern GN acknowledge that young girls need strong and clever female protagonists.  Olivia Twist’s twist on the Dicken’s classic has strong female characters.  An example of this strength would be the character of Fagin and her female band of misfits, code named Esthers, all of whom are fiesty women that exhibit racial and physical diversity.  

Brannen (2013) believes that teenagers like to read about characters that have personal struggles that relate to ‘coming of age’.  In this text, Olivia has lived her whole childhood starved of love and a family.  She seems unaware of her own inner strength and manages to overcome all her obstacles with determination and innate need to protect those weaker than herself.  After all, isn’t morality and ethics about ensuring all members of society are dealt with fairly? Not just the loudest and strongest, but even the small, weak and innocent.  

Whilst Olivia Twist cannot be described as a contemporary realistic fiction due to its dystopian and science fiction characteristics, there are elements of Bildungsroman present within the text. Bildungsroman is a term used to describe texts that are centralised upon the development of a youthful protagonist (Cody, 2005).  This development is usually focused on socio-cultural themes such as morality, race and class, as it provokes vigorous social discourse. 

The inclusion of these themes and following social discourse allows the adolescent reader to develop their moral compass  (Bushman & McNerny, 2004).  Olivia’s love for Pip and her determination to keep him safe ends up being the deciding factor in her survival.  Moral development in teenagers is shaped by the moral dilemmas they are exposed to.  Reading fictitious stories that have moral choices within help students to differentiate between what is right and what is wrong.  After all, as Edmund Burke famously said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” (quotationspage.com).  When considering this text’s similarity to the previously mentioned  texts by Huxley, Dashner and Collins, the similar vein in all three, is an ethical dilemma faced by the fringes of society.  

The actions by the protagonist in all of these texts could be viewed as legally wrong by the prevailing standards of their society.  The reader is able to engage with these moral and ethical dilemmas and with the help of social discourse, determine if the actions of the character were truly wrong or is the society actually at fault?  Society is not an indicator of social morality.  History has proven time and time again that what is right and what society determines is right can be two very different things.  Just look at the evolution of civil rights.  In the 1800’s, women were considered property and did not have the right to own property in their own right or vote.  Whilst this has been overturned in most nations, some cultures still inhibit women from equal participation.  In Australia, the Indigenous peoples were considered as part of the ‘flora and fauna’ till a national referendum in 1967 revoked that viewpoint and Indigenous people were then included as part of the national census.  As individuals, we all play a part in monitoring the morality of society.  

Classic young adult novels such as Olivia Twist lure the reader into the storyline with its multimodal format and then provokes them into analysing the character and their actions.  The reader is able to evaluate the actions of the protagonist and decide if the action is acceptable or not.   It is through this evaluation process that the reader develops their moral compass.  Besides addressing curriculum links within the English curriculum, the strong female protagonist in the narrative provides a positive depiction of women and this is really important for young girls.  The inclusion of good graphic novels into high school library collections meets the cognitive, behavioural and developmental needs of young adult readers.  

References:

Botzakis, S. (2018). Comics in the classroom: Using graphic novels for content learning. In D. Wooten, B. Cullinan, L. Liang & R. Allington (Eds).  Children’s literature in the reading program: Engaging young readers in the 21st century, (5th ed., pp. 140-152). Retrieved from Proquest Ebook Central.

Brannen, J. (2013). All about realistic fiction for teens. NoveList. Retrieved from https://www.ebscohost.com/uploads/novelist/pdf/Teen_RealisticFiction_GenreOutline.pdf

Bushman, J.H. & McNerny, S. (2004). Moral choices: Building a bridge between YA literature and life. ALAN Review, 32(1), 61-67. Retrieved August 2016.

Cody, D. (2005). Bildungsroman. Victorian Web – Literature, History & Culture in the age of Victoria. Retrieved from http://www.victorianweb.org/genre/bildung.html

The Quotations Page. (2018). Edmund Burke. Retrieved from http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/Edmund_Burke/

Gonzalez, J. (2016). Graphic novels in the classroom. [Blog] Cult of Pedagogy. Retrieved from https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/teaching-graphic-novels/

 

Picture Perfect – The role of Picture books in a secondary classroom. 

Every man and his proverbial dog knows the importance of reading in young children and thus the inclusion of picture books into primary school libraries is heavily encouraged. 

rolandmey / Pixabay

 

There is skepticism when it comes to including picture books for a high school library collection.  The simple reason for this quizzical brow raise is that many people view picture books as infantile.  This is because picture books are by definition, mostly pictures with some text, the purview of the young and or uneducated (Marsh, 2010).  Their prevalence in schooling years tends to diminish with age because they are assumed to be less literary or simple in nature (Marsh, 2010). But this is a fallacy. 

Welcome to the world of sophisticated picture books.  

Literature has always been the core of schooling  (Ross Johnston, 2014). From Seneca to Homer, Chaucer to Fielding, Bronte to Orwell, Dickens to Zusak, literature has formed the framework of teaching and learning from the ancient Greeks to current digital natives.  ACARA (n.d.b) points out that the English curriculum is structured with literature, language and literacy at its core. This clearly implies that students need to achieve competency in all three strands in order to be considered proficient.

Literacy has evolved from its traditional stance of reading and writing in this information age.  ACARA (n.d.a) believes that literacy is the ability to access, interact with, decode, comprehend, use and present information in a meaningful manner.  Ross Johnston (2014) concurs that language is useful in organising thought and thus metacognition is the most profound aspect of literacy. Literacy is no longer limited to text but now includes multiple modalities such as written, oral, visual, print and digital forms of information; as well as non traditional text forms such as Braille, Auslan and other gestural sign language.  This plethora of modes means that students need to be proficient across multiple literacies for success in this new world order (Wolf, 2014).  

Picture books (PB) are commonly used in teaching and learning for young children.  Early childhood and primary school teachers often use picture books to teach literacy, content and concepts to their students.  But these books are pushing the boundaries in educational practice. Research has shown that picture books can be used to teach older students multiliteracies, curriculum content and broach sensitive subjects (Marsh, 2010).  Their use of illustrations and text provoke the reader to look past the overt narrative and search for the covert message. Picture books’s application in literacy and learning is extensive and therefore should be defined as literature.  

Traditional picture books follow a linear movement of text and images.  Marsh (2010), believes that both images and texts are required for decoding. Unlike illustrated books, where images are the supporting act to the main text event; picture books require images to be the central feature with text working concurrently with the picture (Barone, 2011).  Children are able to follow the story as images are often clear and the tone is developmentally appropriate (Marsh, 2010). Titles such as Mem Fox’s Where is the green sheep and Alison Lester’s Are we there yet are perfect examples of traditional picture books.  Their format is ideal for younger children as the illustrations assist the reader in decoding the text. 

Conversely postmodern picture books are designed to provoke and stimulate the reader with absent or contradictory text (Aitken, 2007).  The absence of text encourages the reader to ‘self author’ and fill in the dialogue (Aitken, 2007), as Wiesner’s Flotsam exhibits.  In Flotsam, the reader superimposes their own prior knowledge and understanding of the beach to decode the illustrations  (Panteleo, 2018). With most Australians living within an hour of the coast, readers readily identify with the illustrations and corresponding fantasies (ABS, 2017).   Older readers are able to see the overt message of escapism and fantastical stories as well as the covert message of tradition and conservation. Whereas another Wiesner’s book, Three Pigs, has several contradictions between words and images, forcing the readers to re-read the page and search for details previously missed (Aitken, 2007). 

 Compared to traditional picture books where the author’s voice is strong, postmodern picture books allow for a change in narration and perspective (Aitken, 2007).  In Flotsam, the reader superimposes their own knowledge onto the narrative.  This change allows the reader to engage more deeply with the storyline and characters, and in turn, more likely to experience an emotional or cognitive change in thought.  

Sophisticated picture books are also known as picture books for older readers, and they are extremely useful in secondary school classrooms. They have great capability to provide teaching and learning experiences and can be used as a vehicle to teach content, literacies and influence social and emotional development (Pantaleo, 2014).   Marsdens The Rabbits’ (1998), Tan’s Red Tree (2001), Whatley’s Ruben (2018) and Wild’s The feather (2018) are all excellent examples of sophisticated picture books.  It must be noted that post modern books can be for both younger and older readers, but sophisticated PB are primarily for older readers but can have postmodern elements.  Tan’s Red Tree and Marsden’s The Rabbits are both examples of sophisticated PB with postmodern elements.    

This ability to decode and make cognitive connections is not inherent.  Children and young adults often need to re-read such books multiple times and have a discussion with an adult and peers in order to understand the various nuances within (McDonald, 2013).  Additionally, these nuances will manifest differently to readers. The manifestations will depend upon personal cognition and experience. This means that sophisticated picture books are ideal for classrooms with diverse needs as the book itself differentiates the lesson.

There are many advantages to using PB in a secondary classroom.  The obvious advantage is their brevity. Brevity in books is a great tool for constructing engaging thematic units of work.  It also provides a valid alternative as a class text for disinterested teens, reluctant readers, students with low literacy and those that do not speak English at home.  Another advantage is the innocence that surrounds PB (Marsh, 2010). Their familiar structure reassures students as many remember them from their own childhood and early schooling.  Consequently, these books are seen as non threatening and student’s resistance is reduced.     

The ‘image’ has become essential to daily communication and has supplanted the alphabet in terms of importance (Short, 2018; Ross Johnston, 2014).  One only needs to walk through playgrounds to know that tiktok, snapchat and instagram are the preferred social media platforms of teens.   Ross Johnston (2014, p.619) is adamant that students need to be competent in image analysis across various contexts. But in order for teens to be able to make successful connections between literacy and comprehension, they need to learn the skills to decode language and symbols. 

Since visual culture is proving to be a driving force for the 21st century, visual literacy needs to be explicitly taught and sophisticated picture books are eminently qualified for the task (Harvey, 2015; Short, 2018).   Exposure to picture books regularly encourages visual literacy as the reader is encouraged to use both the images and the text to decode and comprehend the story. These skills of decoding and comprehending are the cornerstone of literacy proficiency. As discussed previously, the notion of literacy has evolved over the past century and picture books promote multiliteracy as they are a multimodal form of literature.  Picture books connect well with popular culture and the new texts, technologies and literacies that accompany it (Flores-Koulish & Smith- D’Arezzo, 2016). 

Haven (2007) reminds us that storytelling is the most basic way humans have sought to understand the complexities of life. Therefore narratives are the base level of understanding and within everyone’s capability.  Traditional stories with clear demarcations of beginning, middle and end, allow children to organise information in a logical manner (Haven, 2007). But sophisticated PB with contrary and or absent text, force the reader to make their own connections which promotes critical thinking through their multilayering of overt message and underlying tone (Short, 2018).  

Critical media literacy is also enhanced by picture books.  In a world filled with fake news and the ‘Toilet paper gate of 2020’, it is patently clear that society needs immediate action regarding media literacy.   Flores-Koulish & Smith- D’Arezzo (2016) point out that media is part of the socialisation process and requires skills as it is intrinsic to cultural practice and will differ between societies. Unfortunately media literacy is not addressed appropriately and equally across Australian schools.  The combination of the digital divide and lack of appropriately skilled teachers has meant students are not taught the relevant skills, nor have access to technology required to decode and interpret images. The importance of media literacy can never be dismissed, after all, one only has to recall the bizarre result of the 2016 Presidential election to remember that media literacy cannot be treated lightly.  

It has been well established that emotional regulation is important for social development and is the basis of human interactions (Laurie, 2016).   Laurie (2016) believes that picture books provide an excellent framework to teach humanity about empathy and tolerance which comes under social and emotional intelligence.  This regulation, or emotional literacy, is the ability to regulate one’s emotions in social situations. In fact as Laurie (2016) pointed out, humans require skills in emotional regulation prior to social literacy competency.  Conflict resolution, common in playgrounds, sports grounds, canteens, boardrooms and bedrooms; all require competence in social and emotional literacy. In fact any positive social interaction between peers needs both parties to be emotionally literate.   Reading, discussing and the analysis of literature lures the reader into connecting with the character, which leads to increased levels of sensitivity and empathy. PB are able to broach sensitive issues with ease as their innocent appearance lulls readers into a sense of security (Barone, 2011).  

Literature’s strength lies in the fact that readers are able to vicariously experience the character’s conflict and thus develop an understanding of appropriate responses.  Sophisticated picture books use the illustrations and text to elicit an emotional response in the reader. Whatley’s Ruben uses monochromatic images to show the harsh dystopian world that the protagonist has to survive in.  Wild’s The Feather uses orientation to draw the reader into the image. Marsden’s The Rabbits draws the invaders as pompous, barrel shaped creatures who are oblivious to the presence of the original inhabitants.  This allegorical tale uses satire to point out the devastation the colonisers inflicted on the Indigenous peoples and forces the reader to re-evaluate the history book’s version of events.  Tan’s story of a forlorn child in Red Tree gives the reader a visual representation of what depression can feel like.  The vivid imagery of a monstrous fish, etchings of endless days and drowning gives readers a chance to understand how depression affects people.  It also gives students who suffer mental health illness a language to use to describe their mental state.  

Short (2018) reiterates literature’s ultimate purpose in identifying the inner humanity of individuals and ensuring fundamental experiences of life are accessible to all.  The current trend towards standardised tests and prescribed reading has disengaged students from engaging with books purely for emotional benefit (Flores-Koulish & Smith-DÁrezzo, 2016; Short, 2018, p.291).  As mentioned previously, due to brevity, older students can be encouraged to engage with picture books but without the guilt of ‘wasted time’.

Sophisticated picture books are an excellent tool for addressing the various cognitive, behavioural and developmental needs of the reader.  Images are superseding text in this modern age, therefore it is important that visual literacy is explicitly taught through the curriculum. But PB’s greatest impact on adolescents is upon the development of emotional literacy in adolescents.  Therefore, it can be argued that picture books are literature because they are able to affect the reader so significantly (Ross Johnston, 2014). Picture books are multimodal in nature and their sophistication in addressing issues of a sensitive nature as well as problematic relationships, makes it an important part of a high school collection. 

 

REFERENCES

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2017). How many people live in Australia’s coast areas? Year book Australia, 2004. Retrieved from https://www.abs.gov.au/Ausstats/abs@.nsf/Previousproducts/1301.0Feature%20Article32004

ACARA. (n.d.a). EnglishF-10 Curriculum. Education Services Australia Limited.  Retrieved from https://australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/english/ 

ACARA. (n.d.b). LiteracyF-10 Curriculum. Education Services Australia Limited. Retrieved from https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/general-capabilities/literacy/

Aiken, A. (2015). Postmodernism and children’s literature. ICCTE, 2(2). Retrieved from https://iccte.org/journal/

Barone, D. M. (2011). Children’s literature in the classroom: Engaging lifelong readers.  Retrieved from Proquest Ebook Central. 

Cornett, C. E. (2014). Creating meaning through literature and the arts: An integration resource for classroom teachers (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River,  Prentice Hall. [Available from CSU DOMS Digital Repository]

Flores-Koulish, S. & Smith-D’Arezzo, W. (2016). The three pigs: Can they blow us into critical media literacy old school style? Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 30(3), 349-360. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02568543.2016.1178673

Haven, K. F. (2007).  Story proof: The science behind the startling power of story. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Publishing Group. (pp. 89-122).

Hateley, E. (2013). Reading: From turning the page to touching the screen. In Wu, Y., Mallan, K. & McGillis, R. (Eds.) (Re)imagining the world: Children’s literature response to the changing times (pp. 1-13). Retrieved from Springer Link.

Laurie, H. (2016). Using picture books to promote social-emotional literacy. YC Young Children, 71(3), 80-86. Retrieved from https://www.naeyc.org/

Marsh, D. (2010). The case for picture books in secondary schools. Lianza, 51(4), 27. Retrieved from https://doms.csu.edu.au/csu/file/f7b0a0c2-d0c5-4ba3-8644-6955ea9850b6/1/marsh-d.pdf

Pantaleo, S. (2014). The metafictive nature of postmodern picture books. Reading Teacher, 67(5), 324-332. do: https://doi-org.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/10.1002/trtr.1233

Ross Johnston, R. (2014). Children’s literature in the Australian context. In G. Winch, R. Ross Johnston, P. March, L. Ljungdahl & M. Holliday (Eds.), Literacy: Reading, writing and children’s literature (5th ed., pp. 557-581). Retrieved from Proquest Ebook Central.

Short, K. (2018). What’s trending in children’s literature and why it matters. Language Arts, 95(5), 287-298.

Turner, C. (2014). Opening the portal: An exploration of the use of postmodern picture books to develop critical literacy and contribute to learning in the Australian Curriculum: English. Literacy Learning: Middle Years, (1), 52-61. Retrieved from https://www.alea.edu.au/

Wolfe, S. (2014). Children’s literature on the digital move. Reading Teacher, 67(6), 413-417. https://doi-org.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/10.1002/trtr.1235

Graphic novels in the curriculum

In days gone by, graphic novels were regarded little more than entertainment for children and young adults.  They were regarded as shallow and of no value as literature. I have previously discussed the popularity of graphic novels in my school library, but I have not expounded upon their value to the collection as a source of literature.

A good graphic novel as described by Gonzales (2016) is a literary text in a comic strip format. It should have the same literary features of a prose novel, such as an overarching theme, depth of plot, character development, as well as the standard literary devices of any other piece of literature (Gonzales, 2016).  But the added strength of graphic novels is the illustrations. These illustrations support the storyline and seek to enhance the plot for the reader by providing context and additional visual clues.

ACARA (n.d.a) defines a text as a conveyance of communication.  It does not discriminate if the text is written, spoken or multi-modal in nature, but rather emphasises the importance in its ability to transmit information.  Therefore, as per ACARA (n.d.a), it is perfectly reasonable for graphic novels to be used as part of curriculum literature as well as part of general wide reading. The multi-modal format of graphic novels is suitable for both fiction and non fiction subject matter, and engages students across year levels and contributes to the development of various literacies and higher order thinking skills.

The format of graphic novels strongly promotes literacy; which includes but is not limited to language and visual development as well as critical and cultural literacy (Laycock, 2019).  As ACARA (n.d.b) illustrates, the literacy continuum allows for active teaching of graphic novels in the visual knowledge element as well as the comprehension of text elements. These elements clearly indicate that the focus of literature is no longer restricted to prose in print; but that the concept of text has greatly evolved.

Graphic novels have several features that lend itself to teaching and learning practice.  Firstly, the transition that is needed between frames makes it necessary for the reader to predict the next action (Botzakis, 2018).  This prediction requires the student to utilise higher order thinking skills before they can arrive at that point, using the contextual information present in the imagery.  The context of a graphic novel has multiple uses in an educational setting.  Besides assisting low literacy and ESL students improving their ability to decode; discordance between images and text can also be used to provoke spirited discussions and analysis (Botzakis, 2018).  Lamentably, most students fail to understand such nuances intuitively, therefore explicit pedagogical practice is required to equip students with the necessary skills (Laycock, 2019). Lastly, graphic novels have visual permanence (Botzakis, 2018). This visual permanence means that the reader is able to set their own reading pace and allows for re-reading and further clarification.

In recent years, many classical texts have been reprinted as graphic novels due to their popularity.  Complex texts such as Homer’s “Iliad” and Harper Lee’s “To kill a mockingbird” adaptations allow the reader to engage with class texts in a format that they can access more easily.  Even popular titles such as “Anne Frank’s Diary” and “Wrinkle in Time”have proven more competitive in a graphic format than the traditional text version with high school students.  Laycock (2019) points out that graphic novels increase the literacy alphabet in poor readers as well as offer an additional method in which content can be delivered. The evidence does indicate that as a format, graphic novels have great potential in a classroom setting.

Unfortunately many teachers falter when challenged to use graphic novels in their teaching practice.  This is due to a lack of confidence with this format. Authority in explicitly teaching literacy using graphic novels requires the teacher to be familiar with a variety of graphic texts (Gonzales, 2016).  Gonzales (2016) suggests that knowledge in film techniques would be useful in analysing the illustrations, as they use frames, colours, angles and word bubbles to convey the covert message; in comparison to the the text, which speaks the overt message.  Comprehension is further enhanced by clear teaching of artistic elements such as line, shade, colour, form and depth. Some graphic novels aid comprehension further by the inclusion of character mapping which aids in memory recall (Botzakis, 2018).

The largest benefit to the inclusion of graphic novels in a high school library collection is that reading graphic novels tends to lead to an increased satisfaction with reading, which in turn leads to increased wide reading (Gonzales, 2016; Laycock, 2019).  Graphic novels also give poor and reluctant readers a sense of accomplishment due to the increased decoding assistance from the visual clues (Botzakis, 2018).

Regrettably many parents and teachers still believe that graphic novels are unsuitable for classrooms and wide reading due to ingrained prejudices and their own distant memories (Gonzales, 2016; Laycock, 2019).  There is an assumption that vintage comics are in the same league as a modern graphic novel. But this thesis would be incorrect. Comics are to graphic novels as Mills & Boon are to traditional literature (Botzakis, 2018). It would be a great miscalculation to designate all graphic novels as entertainment, when one can clearly see their practicality in the classroom and links to the curriculum. Another point to consider is that there is a disconnect between what students want to read and what the curriculum dictates they have to read.  This dichotomy cripples literacy development. When school literacy programs prefer only monomodal texts, it creates pedagogical tension for teachers. Adding graphic novels to class literature shifts the voice in the classroom from teacher to the student which leads to higher student engagement.

Graphic novels sales are trending across the literary world.  The first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize was “Maus” by Spiegelman in 1992, followed by Aydin’s “March” series that won the National Book Award in 2016.  Traditionally favoured with the tween and teen males, graphic novels have become increasingly popular with teenage girls (Gonzales, 2016; Botzakis, 2018). This popularity has led to a sharp increase in the occurrence of female protagonists within this genre (Gonzales, 2016).  One could argue that graphic novels are indeed texts of the 21st century as they engage the reader on multiple levels, promoting multiple literacies in a multi-modal world.

References

ACARA, (n.d.a) English – Key Ideas. Retrieved from  https://australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/english/key-ideas/

ACARA, (n.d.b) Literacy Learning continuum.  Retrieved from https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/media/3596/general-capabilities-literacy-learning-continuum.pdf

Botzakis, S. (2018). Comics in the classroom: Using graphic novels for content learning. In D. Wooten, B. Cullinan, L. Liang & R. Allington (Eds).  Children’s literature in the reading program: Engaging young readers in the 21st century, (5th ed., pp. 140-152). Retrieved from Proquest Ebook Central.

Goldsmith, F. (2010). The readers’ advisory guide to graphic novels. Retrieved from Proquest Ebook Central.

Karp, J. (2012). Graphic novels in your school library. Retrieved from Proquest Ebook Central. 

Laycock, D. (2019) Pilgrims in a foreign land: Teachers using graphic novels as classroom texts. SCAN, 38.  https://education.nsw.gov.au/teaching-and-learning/professional-learning/scan/past-issues/vol-38,-2019/pilgrims-in-a-foreign-land-teachers-using-graphic-novels-as-classroom-texts

 

 

 

YA – Did you ?

My knowledge of children’s literature is as extensive as my personal library. 

I have shelves groaning with ‘golden books’( a remnant of my childhood), Blyton, Nesbit, Grimm, Anderson, Wilder (another remnant), Montgomery (mine), Alcott (yes… also mine), Lewis (mine), Anh Do (definitely not mine – Child #2), Harvey, Keene, K Kenny (mine), J Kenny ( not mine – Child #1), Dixon and Rowling to just name a few authors. This is not including the shelves full of board and picture books (child #1, #2 and #3) that have appealed to my minions thus far.  But as I ponder this, and glance lovingly at my home library, I realise that I went straight from children’s books to the classics and then onto adult fiction. I had completely skipped the YA stage. 

A whole series that revolutionised children’s books.

 

Young adult fiction as Tyle (2014) points out are books that are written for teenagers aged between 12-18 years old and (mostly) have teen protagonists as central characters.  Compared to books aimed at children and adults, YA fiction should be able to present a teen’s perspective without sounding condescending or patronising. Pattee (2017) although prefers to call YA as emerging adult fiction or new adult fiction as she feels that this developmental phase could be more applicable to young adults between 18-25 years old.  Her reasoning for this shift in age range is based upon when confusion and conflict occurs in identity as per Erikson’s psychological theory. Pattee (2017, p.220) suggests that a true identity crisis occurs later in life than in teen years as per previous theories.  

A childhood favourite of mine

 

This makes sense to me.  It’s common knowledge that the brains of young people are not fully grown till their mid-twenties.  After all, due to the increased risk of rash decision making, most car insurance companies charge younger drivers a higher excess compared to their older compatriots.   Another thought to ponder is the age that modern ‘new adults’ actually start adult-ing (Pattee, 2017). With millennials delaying settling down with a partner and setting up their homes till their late 20’s and early 30’s; the time period for identity conflict and resolution is definitely being delayed.  

My first encyclopaedia

 

When thinking back to my earlier readings I recall that children’s literature should address the behavioural, cognitive and emotional development of children.  A good children’s book helps children grow and understand themselves and the world they live in. So a good YA novel should also do the same for young people. It should help them grow into adulthood.  It should help them deal with coming of age issues like sexuality and relationships.  

So back to my bookshelves of children’s literature.  I would be the first to agree that my knowledge of children’s books are dated.  But whilst I do feel its part of parenting that we share our favourite authors, soundtracks and movies with our children, we must also keep our minds open to them finding their own favourites.  So my children and I have an agreement. Every time we go to the library they borrow whatever books they want to read, and then I get one I have enjoyed and then read that to them. This way they share with me their favourite books, I can share my love of literature, and at the same time expand my repertoire of titles. 

Win/Win?  

I think yes.

REFERENCES

Pattee, Amy.Children’s Literature Association Quarterly; Baltimore Vol. 42, Iss. 2,  (Summer 2017): 218-230. DOI:10.1353/chq.2017.0018

Tyle, Leonie. Following the Michael L. Printz award Leonie Tyle muses on the definition of young adult fiction [online]. Magpies: Talking About Books for Children, Vol. 29, No. 4, Sep 2014: 16.

Graphic Novels – More than just for fun.

New part of the collection

 

My school library has recently acquired a variety of graphic novels, ranging from classics such as Harper Lee’s, “To Kill a Mockingbird” to swashbuckling tales of pirates, and fantastical stories of superheroes from the Avengers franchise.  There are multiple reasons behind the acquisition of these resources; tacking reluctant readers engagement with reading, boosting traditional and multimodal literacy and addressing the needs of the curriculum.  

BAM! Literacy and fun- TOGETHER!

 

Graphic novels have widespread appeal across generations.  From adolescent reluctant readers to highly literate adult geeks, graphic novels can inspire a cult following.  I can only chuckle when I reminisce about Sheldon Cooper and his obsession with comics in the popular TV series “Big Bang Theory”.  The popularity seems to stem from the presence of popular genres such as Manga, funny and superhero comics and their use of contemporary characters (Crowley, 2015; Hughes et al., 2011).  The Marvel and DC comic series in particular, have reached new zeniths in popularity due to the recent plethora of movies being released this decade.  

Literacy teachers common use graphic novels as a method of engaging students who are reluctant readers boosting literacy.   As mentioned in earlier blog posts, reluctant readers often struggle to engage with traditional texts for a multitude of reasons, most commonly, low literacy.  Aliteracy or illiteracy, can preclude students from comprehending large text paragraphs (Crowley, 2015). Graphic novels with their text juxtapositioned with pictures format allows students to use visual stimuli to assist with decoding text (Cook & Kirchoff, 2017).  The drawings create a tangible image for the reader allowing them to be captivated more easily by the narrative within. This engagement can often influence students with low literacy to become more prolific with their reading, which has a direct correlation to increased literacy and overall academic achievement.  Due to their popularity and narrative style, graphic novels epitomise the adage, ‘reading for pleasure’. For schools with wide reading programs, a strong graphic novel investment is highly advised.  

There are other benefits to adding graphic novels to a collection.  The advent of the information age has demanded a strong requirement for students to be literate across modalities.  Graphic novels with their images and text colligated together, confer visual, gestural and spatial elements simultaneously, causing the reader to engage with the material on multiple levels.   As mentioned previously, graphic adaptations of class texts and other classics are extremely beneficial in engaging students as it is unfortunate that prescribed texts often seem to lack appeal with the student cohort.  A graphic adaptation has the duality of both ENGAGING disinterested students and ASSISTING students with DIVERSE learning needs.  By adding graphic novel adaptations of class texts to the collection, a school library is acknowledging the diverse learning needs of their students whilst addressing curriculum requirements mandated by ACARA.     

References

Cook, M., & Kirchoff, J. (2017). Teaching multimodal literacy through reading and writing graphic novels. Language and Literacy.  Vol. 19 (4). Pp. 76-95

Crowley, J. (2015) Graphic novels in a the school library. The School Library. Vol 63 (3)  Pp140-142

Hughes, J., King, A., Perkins, P. & Fuke, V. (2011) Adolescents and the Autographics; Reading and writing coming of age graphic novels. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. Vol. (54(8). DOI: doi:10.1598/JAAL.54.8.