My students are struggling readers who, for one reason or another, never learned foundational reading skills in the primary grades. I teach students who have not yet learned to read by the time they are in fourth grade or above. My students are diverse in every sense of the word, but they have one thing in common: they all have the potential to become avid bookworms!
When students first come into my program, they tell me how much they hate reading.
They tell me books are boring, that they don't have time to read, and that they're too stupid to learn. In my room, most kids discover the magic of a good story for the first time. By the time they've been with me for less than a month, they've been hooked; and most beg me to keep reading the next chapter of our read aloud or to find them the latest title in their favorite series on my weekly trip to the bargain book store!
All students in my room are emerging readers. This means that complex texts with opportunities for deep thinking are often outside of their independent reading abilities. Enter graphic novels. Even my most reluctant and below-level readers will pick up a graphic novel, just to flip through the pictures. As students develop reading skills, they are able to safely apply them with grade-appropriate texts that peers will envy.
These graphic novels, in particular, represent a wide range of diverse characters, allowing students to see themselves and their peers represented in literature.
They also tackle challenging topics, such as racism, slavery, poverty, and the many varied forms of bigotry still present in today's society.
By approaching these topics through graphic novels, my students will be able to access grade-level content at their own reading levels.
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