My school is located in a high poverty area in Baltimore City. It is a Title I school with over 470 students in grades pre-k to five. My students love to read. They get excited about new books I introduce. Unfortunately, engaging books are not easy to come by.
Many of my students do not have books in their home.
Checking out books from our school library each week provides students with greater access to books. My students are able to check out a book from my library every week. It is one of their favorite things to do. Many of my students stop by the library before school to check out a new book. They are so excited to get a new book that they do not want to wait until their next class period. They are truly developing a love for reading.
One of the big issues we have is that we do not have a lot of books in the library. We also have a lot of empty shelves and many books that are over 30 years old. I am hoping to add new, high interest books for students to enjoy.
One of my main goals in the library this year is to develop a collection that meets the needs of my school community. I created interest surveys to see what types of books students are interested in and what they wish was in the library. Graphic novels and comics were the overall most requested book type. I had a total of 6 graphic novels in the library last year. That section of the library has grown to 30 books now, but with 490 students, there are not enough graphic novels to fill the shelves. There are times when only 4 graphic novels are still on the shelf, leaving few options for students to check out. Of the graphic novels we have, none of them are about superheroes. With the passing of Stan Lee, Marvel book requests have been growing. I would love to add several Marvel books to our collection. I am requesting Marvel Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Black Panther books. I am also requesting a Stan Lee biography and a how to draw comics book so my students can learn about the creator of many Marvel characters and how he created them.
Graphic novels are a wonderful resource for reluctant readers.
The emphasis on illustrations and the lower word count can encourage even the most struggling readers to pick up a book and read. While they are often still chapter books, they are quick reads and can be less intimidating. Even though they tend to have a low word count compared to normal chapter books, they tackle complex themes. The artwork helps with student comprehension.
Reading is reading. Finding the right book in elementary school can help develop a love of reading that can last a lifetime! For many students, the right book is a graphic novel.
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