Interest is growing among teachers and researchers in using “graphica” as a means of promoting literacy and other academic skills. Last month Fordham University’s graduate school of education in New York City hosted what was billed as the first academic conference on “Graphica in Education.” The event drew 125 teachers, scholars, artists, and publishers from across the country and featured a myriad of presentations.
The term “graphica” takes in “manga,” which are Japanese-style graphic novels; “art graphic novels,” which refer to both fiction and nonfiction literary works that blend visuals and text; and more traditional comic books, such as X-Men, Spiderman, and Batman. According to researchers, several studies suggest that students who read comics go on to read more. Reportedly, these students also display an interest in more varied literature.
The academic interest comes as sales of graphic literature are exploding worldwide. Even libraries and book stores in the United States are setting up special displays. Educators are using the medium for a variety of purposes, including as a bridge to full literacy for English-language learners and struggling readers; a tool for discussing sensitive social issues; a subject for lessons on visual literacy; a vehicle for ethics discussion in classes with gifted students; and a means for nurturing creativity in after-school programs.
Still, advocates for the educational uses of comics admit that some educators still don't recognize these publications as acceptable forms of literature for classroom use. Education Week has more. (Registration required.)
Tags: Comics, Reading, Literacy, ELL, Critical Thinking, Struggling Readers, Creativity, K-12, Media by Sistrunk