Graphic Novels: An Alternative to Hi-Lo books

Posted by Big Universe on Aug 20, 2014 3:35:22 AM

Graphic novels have so much potential to heal literacy problems. Older reluctant readers won't go near traditional early readers because of the stigma attached to reading a book that's obviously meant for younger kids. There is a large market, therefore, for Hi-Lo books. The folks who can accomplish the task of writing a highly-engaging, well-written novel on, say, a first-grade reading level have my undying admiration. That can't be an easy task. But Graphic Novels make an excellent, and in some ways more natural, alternative for struggling and reluctant readers.

There are many reasons that kids struggle to read. One is that they are not mentally ready to make the leap from reading pictures, which concretely represent their subject, to reading words. Words are an abstraction. They don’t look like their subject. Instead, they are symbols that represent sounds that make up words which are given as designations for an object. While a child may recognize the designating word when it is spoken, making a connection between little visual squiggles that do NOT look like the object, and a mental picture of the object is actually quite a leap in cognition. It’s kind of amazing that we do it at all, but for some kids this leap just does not come as naturally or as quickly as it does for their peers.

That's where graphic novels come in. They can provide a more natural transition between picture books and full-text novels. The brunt of the story-telling burden in a graphic novel lies in the pictures, so the stories can be quite complex and engaging, but they still contain words as an integral part, so the learner is still increasing her literacy level. And because kids tend to love reading them, they practice more and more.

 

Try These Graphic Classic Adaptations for a Start

The Call of the Wild
Kids' Book Publisher: Saddleback Educational Publishing

The Call of the Wild

by Jack London
ISBN: 9781602911437

Follow the adventures of Buck, a loving family pet, who is stolen from his comfortable home to become a sled dog in the Yukon gold rush territory. As Buck faces freezing temperatures, starvation, and cruelty, he learns that he must be brutal to survive.

 

Moby Dick
Kids' Book Publisher: Saddleback Educational Publishing

Moby Dick

by Herman Melville
ISBN: 9781602911611

Moby Dick is an exciting story about Captain Ahab’s compelling obsession to get his revenge and defeat the Great White Whale. The story truly portrays the tragedy of hatred. This timeless epic is considered one of the strangest yet most powerful stories ever written.

 

The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Kids' Book Publisher: Saddleback Educational Publishing

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

by Victor Hugo
ISBN: 9781602911536

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is one of Victor Hugo’s greatest accomplishments. This gothic tale about Dom Frollo, the archdeacon of Notre Dame Cathedral, and his total infatuation and frustration for the beautiful La Esmeralda ends in disaster. The pathetic and disfigured Quasimodo, the hunchbacked bell ringer, is forced to choose between his two loves- Dom Frollo and La Esmeralda.

 

A Christmas Carol
Kids' Book Publisher: Saddleback Educational Publishing

A Christmas Carol

by Charles Dickens
ISBN: 9781602911444

A Christmas Carol is without question one of Charles Dickens’ greatest works. This extremely popular story introduces some of the most timeless, internationally known characters such as Scrooge, the unforgettable miser; Bob Cratchit, the underpaid clerk; and Tiny Tim, Cratchit’s frail, loving son.

 

Topics: Classroom Ideas, Reading Lists, Literacy

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