The graphic novel may only take a third of the usual time to read compared to a traditional novel, but that doesn’t mean students get one third of the message of a story. Some stories are just easier to comprehend in a condensed graphic format. The graphic novel Palestine is a perfect example. While not all parts of Joe Sacco’s tale of the Middle East conflict are suitable for the classroom, this graphic novel provided me with excellent excerpts that illustrated key points of tension and disconnect still present in the region.
Classical Comics’ version of MacBeth is a great example of an additional path to understanding Shakespeare. Graphic novel versions of classic stories are not substitutes for reading the original text. I think of them as bridges. If a graphic novel can open the door to Sherlock Holmes, Shakespeare, Greek mythology and much more then it will always have a place in my classroom.
Even though the Cartoon History series isn’t really a graphic novel, I’ve used several sections of these when I taught middle school History and found they were a challenging read for students. When we talk about a need to teach students to read information provided in a variety of formats, graphic novels are an excellent vehicle for practicing this.
The foreign language classroom and digital storytelling potential of a Voki is extensive.