ERIC Number: EJ869252
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Reference Count: 14
Sequential Art Books and Beginning Readers: Can the Pictures Help Them Decode Words?
Stanley, Sarah; Sturm, Brian W.
Knowledge Quest, v37 n2 p50-57 Nov-Dec 2008
Comics and graphic novels are being incorporated into upper elementary and middle school classrooms based on the novels' popularity and ability to stimulate interest in voluntary reading. Their format--combining words and sequential images--may hold power for an even younger audience. As beginning readers struggle to decode new words in books, they often turn to pictures for clues and contextual information. Graphic novels, with their myriad pictures, are being created for young children and considered as a potential format to help scaffold beginning readers' efforts. With this in mind, the authors wondered whether there was any evidence that these books were actually serving this function, and their study showed that, regardless of their potential, the current selection of books were of little value for beginning readers to read alone. This article presents a project that examines the text and pictures of books in a sequential art format that are intended for beginning readers. Based on their analysis, the authors conclude that sequential art books do not provide adequate visual support to enable beginning readers to decode difficult text. Creators of graphic novels for beginning readers do not seem to give conscious attention to pairing, clearly and unequivocally, each difficult word with a corresponding image. The authors offer some considerations that may increase the ability of beginning graphic novel readers to make sense of difficult words independently. (Contains 4 figures.)
Descriptors: Cartoons, Novels, Emergent Literacy, Picture Books, Art Materials, Beginning Reading, Visual Stimuli, Pictorial Stimuli, Decoding (Reading), Teaching Methods, Reading Instruction, Young Children
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A