Comic Book Literacy *
I like comic books, my kids like comic books, and I want my students to read/like/appreciate/create/etc. comic books. Oops, I forgot I'm supposed to call them "graphic novels" or "illustrated classics" now, especially if trying to use them in a classroom. Reading is about enjoying to read, wanting to read, cooperating eagerly with reading time instead of grudgingly flipping through whatever book happens to be nearby. I've seen middle school classes turn the pages of tired, over-perused National Geographics without so much as a courtesy glance at the text (and barely allowing the images to register in their turned-off minds) during "Independent Reading" -- and I'd much rather they were reading a comic book!
On the other hand, I also see (mostly boys, mostly struggling readers) the "reading" of comics as simply a picture walk. I'll allow comics, even strip collections like the inimitable Calvin and Hobbes , but I want to verify comprehension, I want vocabulary, questions, and predictions -- proof you actually read the words inside those balloons! Would this work to check comprehension: white out some of the text, entire balloons or panels, and have the student fill in his/her own words, phrases, descriptions of action. Comics could also be used as a voice-over type of Reader's Theater, almost like classic radio shows or silent movies with the images up on the screen?
* Probably going to miss ComicCon this year, but checking out this site now...