The Appeal of Graphic Novels to Upper-Elementary Students of Different Reading Abilities
Graphic novels and graphic nonfiction literature are a fast growing segment of publishers' titles for children. Libraries are increasing their collections of graphic novels. This research paper reports the results of a study to determine which students, based on reading level, were most likely to check out graphic novels in a public school setting. Fourth and fifth grade students were classified in four groups according to their state reading test level. This research project explores the history of graphic novels. The literature review explores the possible appeal graphic novels might have for readers of differing abilities as well as the unique reading skills necessary to understand their sequential art format. Students were introduced to graphic novels within their media center. The media center specialist created a special area for the thirty titles provided for the study. Circulation records were maintained weekly to monitor which students checked out these books over a nine-week period of time. The reading ability of these students was then used to determine if graphic novels appealed to one type of reader over the others. Research showed that readers of all ability levels were interested in graphic novels and checked them out of the media center. However, the number of advanced readers who checked out graphic novels outnumbered the other three categories.
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