My students come from a depressed economic area of the rural South.
They're great kids—awesome, really—and voracious learners.
They defy the stereotypes of southerners by seeking and enjoying new experiences. Their intuitions into the lives of others is breathtaking, and the care and compassion they often show one another is incredible.
Many came to me this year reluctant and disappointed to find out that we read and write every day in my room. However, after reading aloud together, they've become more and more interested in continuing their newfound love of literacy.
They crave more books and in more formats: they want books with great illustrations, graphic novels, audiobooks, and more.
When our students learn about history and the stories that make up that history, it can be very difficult for them to find an emotional core to aid their understanding. People and events seem distant, dry, and uninteresting.
However, we can make history come to life with emotional and engaging story-telling.
One such story is the graphic novel Laika, by Nick Abadzis. Laika is the story of the first dog in space. Nick's illustrations, and focus on the people around the space program and the dogs involved, makes the distant past immediate and personal.
The students will be able to engage with a rich form of story telling that is becoming more common and more desirable in the form of a graphic novel. The Space Race, which they study in Social Studies, becomes real and personal when they read the struggles of the scientists and their tiny canine cosmonauts.
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