Reading & Literacy Opinion

The State of Art of Comics (Er, Make That ‘Graphic Novels’)

By Richard Whitmire — August 03, 2011 1 min read
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From Bluewater Productions.

From their press release:

COMICS IN THE CLASSROOM; BLUEWATER UNVEILS LESSON PLANS FOR EDUCATORS There was a time that reading a comic book in class was a one-way ticket to detention. However, as educators seek new and innovative ways to inspire learning and comprehension, publisher Bluewater Productions takes the next step in unveiling a series of multi-discipline lesson plans that incorporate graphic novels and, yes, comic books. Developed in partnership with educator and driving force behind the popular resource "The Graphic Classroom" Chris Wilson, educators and librarians can access a free and fully developed lesson plan that incorporates several of Bluewater's non-fiction titles. "I know that reading is a problem for many students today. I feel strongly that comics and graphic novels can be one way that we can combat this problem. Graphics novels should be in every public school library and classroom library." said Wilson. The lesson plans, available through Bluewater, incorporate a multi-discipline analysis of several biographical graphic novels and comic books including language, historical perspective, conceptual thinking, decision making and other skills appropriate for elementary and middle school students. The plans use a variety of exercises, talking points and activity prompts. In the first collection available this August, educators can choose from a selection of current historical figures such as Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin and Michelle Obama, influential modern authors like S.E. Hinton, JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer or a variety of culturally impactful celebrities like Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift. "I was one of those students in danger of falling through the cracks," said Bluewater president Darren Davis. "I was a borderline student and a poor reader. But once I discovered comic books, I couldn't put them down. My vocabulary increased; my comprehension improved. I can honestly say that comic books gave me the confidence I needed to eventually tackle Shakespeare and Steinbeck." Bluewater, based in Vancouver, WA, strives to entertain comic book fans, but also support schools and library systems by holding educational seminars, literacy programs, speaking tours and hands-on events while providing reading material that capture and engage the reader in a literary and visual manner. Wilson's The Graphic Classroom (http://graphicclassroom.blogspot.com/) is a resource for teachers and librarians to help them stock high quality, educational-worthy, graphic novels and comics in their classroom or school library. Wilson reads and reviews every graphic novel or comic on this website and rates its appropriateness for the classroom. Over the next several months additional lesson plans will be released using Bluewater's vast library of titles. They include several biography titles that have received national attention: Female Force, Political Power, Fame, and Orbit series. Samples of each title are available on the Bluewater website.

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