Graphic Novels for ESL & Reluctant Readers

BY DEPIN KELLY

EZRA BAKER SCHOOL

 

Goals, objectives, and activities

Graphic novels have been used extensively to help children become more proficient and prolific readers. It is our goal to help our extensive ESL population as well as those students that have been identified as reading below grade level become more proficient readers by using graphic novels which give extensive clues to the narration through pictures depicting action.  We will do this by providing appropriate grade level material in an informal setting – a book group.  Less proficent students will be placed in grade level groupings with a few students that are at grade level. The librarian will lead these book groups to take out any stigma of being in a “slow” reading group. The students will be given the graphic novels to read outside of class time. Then for two weeks, students will discuss what they have read in a group setting.  We would like to work with at least four different books which would be over eight weeks. One of the most significant indicators of future success in school is the reading level of a child in third grade.  That is why it is essential that children become proficient readers by the end of third grade.  We plan to have groups in first, second and third grade.

 

How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)

These students are continuously being tested to determine their reading strength and weaknesses.  We plan to use a baseline data test (such as DRA or F&P) to determine levels.  After the eight weeks, we plan to test to see if their levels have increased.  We have enough data from past testing to determine if the increase is statistically significant.  We will also do a pre-test and post-test to determine if attitudes towards reading has changed.

 

Benefit to the students and the school

The benefit to the students would be immense.  As mentioned above, becoming a proficient reader by the end of third grade is a significant indicator of future school success.  If we find that graphic novels can provide a significant increase in reading scores before the third grade, it would be possible to target resources that would help students become successful readers and students.  Graphic novels have been used in the past for other populations.  It would be of great interest to the teaching community at large if graphic novels are more successful that current reading literature used for both the ESL and the struggling reader.  If it is successful, we would like to present the information to several professional groups, as well as possibly seeking publication of these results to see if they can be replicated in other settings.

 

Budget (Please detail how funding will be used. Itemize as appropriate.)

Toon books, an imprint of Candlewick publishing in Boston, has graded level readers available.  I am requesting the maximum amount in order to purchase 4 books for up to 80 students in three grade levels.  This would be close to 320 books.  The $500 would not cover the complete cost of the program, but it would be a significant contributor towards what is may be a very exciting innovation.

 

Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable.)

We would like to start the project just after the new year (2014).  This program would run for two months (January and February).

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