• Just like a family, we look out for and care about each other. We’ve learned how to believe in ourselves and realize that our dreams and goals can be achieved.

    Bernabe Martinez


Engaging Student Interest in Reading

Graphic Novel Book Clubs

Multimodal texts communicate through a variety of meaning-making systems (alphabetic, oral, visual, etc.)  As you know, students encounter multimodal texts on the internet, in magazines and every day in their textbooks.  Think of reading and evaluating graphic novels or comics as an engaging way to prepare students to deal with the information they encounter every day!

“By teaching students to become conscious and critical of the ways in which they make meaning from multimodal texts such as comics, we can also teach students to become more literate with a wide range of multimodal texts.”  (Hoover, S. (2011). THE CASE FOR GRAPHIC NOVELS. Communications in Information Literacy, 5(2), 174-186. Retrieved from http://eduscapes.com/instruction/articles/hoover.pdf)

Elementary, Middle, High School Examples

High School students are getting a first-hand account of the Civil Rights Movement from Congressman John Lewis in his award winning graphic novel March

Middle School students explore the social implications of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the graphic novel Drowned City.

Elementary School students are introduced to literary elements through the comic adventures of Zita Space Girl.

Multicultural Picture Books

Authentic multicultural picture books make up less than 3% of the publishing market.  They are often hard to find, and outside the budget of most schools.  In partnership with the non-profit First Book, NLA Group has brought diversity to student reading through the use of picture books.

African-American children’s literature scholar Rudine Sims Bishop observed the following “Children need mirrors, windows, and sliding-glass doors. Mirrors to see themselves. Windows to see how other people live. Sliding doors to have vicarious experiences that will make them think more broadly about the world.”

Elementary School Example

Books like Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich Smith challenge stereotypes and show children the vibrant living culture of an American Indian girl written by an authentic author, herself of both Muskogee and Ojibway heritage.

Art Exploration and Discussion

Brown, Sherry et al. (n.d.). [Pdf.] Research-Based Communication Toolkit: Section II The Arts And Literacy Development. Retrieved from http://www.nasaa-arts.org/Research/Key-Topics/Arts-Education/rbc-toolkit-section2.pdf

“Like text, visual art, music, theatre, and dance are symbol systems. Use of these symbol systems is a form of literacy and develops abilities needed for reading and writing.

Benefits include:

  • Greater sensitivity to metaphors, symbols, and underlying themes
  • Greater commitment to expressing and finding meaning in text
  • Better abstract reasoning skills, used in reading and writing
  • Better spatial-temporal reasoning skills used in reading, verbal expression, and writing
  • Improved comprehension Low-income students who participate in the arts show the greatest improvement in literacy.”

Integrating Picture Books with STEM Activities

Summer in Space was a 7 week collaboration with an educational consultant to integrate non-fiction, poetry, biography and picture book instruction with informational videos, science journals, and space related STEM activities.

Using highly engaging literature and video background introduced science vocabulary in a familiar context before being presented during the science portion of each unit.

Elementary School Examples

Students were given end of project surveys to share their favorite books and science experiences.

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