But This Book Has Pictures! The Case for Graphic Novels in an AP Classroom

Using graphic novels in the high school classroom can be an effective choice for all levels of learners. These novels can make a difficult subject interesting and relatable.  The graphic novel is also an excellent way to teach complex concepts to higher-level students and to introduce them to an important postmodern genre. The visual world has had increasing impact on our students' lives, and this is a way to connect to untapped portions of their minds. Discussed novels include MAUS: A Survivor's Tale, Persepolis, American Born Chinese, and Safe Area Gorazde: The War in Eastern Bosnia 1992-95. Many teachers consider middle school the appropriate age for study of the graphic novel, but such works are also a good choice for students at higher grade levels. This site discusses using graphic novels to teach visual rhetoric, to incorporate sophisticated literary elements (such as anthropomorphism), and to apply various critical approaches to literature.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CLE 3003.6.1
Comprehend and summarize the main ideas of complex informational texts and determine the essential elements that elaborate them.
CLE 3003.6.3
Read, interpret, and analyze graphics that support complex informational and technical texts.
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: