English language learners have challenged educators and politicians throughout the decades with finding a best method to educate them; however, the dispute remains on whose view of what constitutes “the best” program for ELLs (Crawford, 2004, p. 29). Graphic novels are gaining popularity as understandings of the various literacies (critical, visual, etc) fluctuate. This trend could assist educators as more instructional methods are sought to increase the literacy skills of English language learners. Between the hard work of librarians, English language arts teachers and the popularity of film adaptations of popular graphic novels, this under-studied format is gaining respect and teaching time (Carter, 2007). Through various studies, project-based learning using graphic novels has been shown to assist students in this endeavor by creating “strong connections among the arts and retention, self-image, and academic progress”, all positive components that we want to see in ...view middle of the document...
Through carefully crafted characters, teens are able to reflect on their own sense of self-worth, discover ways in which they can improve themselves and realize that while making mistakes is an unfortunate side-effect of growing up, it is what you choose to do with those mistakes that builds the character traits leading into adulthood. Without reading, English-language learners have only the marginal experiences of themselves, and the perceived experiences of their peers, to shape their character. Thus the importance of graphic novel use with struggling readers, especially second language learners, arises. If graphic novels can entice ELLs into reading, if they can build a desire to walk in another’s moccasins and better understand the people of this world, then they would truly learn more about, not only their own cultures, but the cultures of others as well. Therefore, it is not just about reading aspect of second language learning, it is about breaking down the walls that imprison these struggling readers, removing their shackles of insecurity and narrow-mindedness and guiding them into the realm of literacy. It is from this new position that K-12 ELLs can grow, can begin understanding the larger world around them and can answer the vital questions that form a successful democracy.
Description of the Research
This research attempts to address these themes by looking at ways to select appropriate
learning and instructional material that will allow students to become engaged, reflective and
critical thinkers. This research is based on the belief that we need to offer a range of information
and material in a variety of formats that will allow students to succeed in school and in life, to
become confident, be able to communicate ideas and thoughts effectively and be great decision-makers.
In addition to the essential skills that students learn in school, such as reading and
writing, the goal is to ensure that these students become literate citizens who will make informed
decisions throughout their life. Therefore, this research will address how grade 9 students, particularly those in the English learners’ classroom, accept and advance their reading skills through multimodal texts such as graphic novels.