by Glen Downey, Comics in Education, www.comicsineducation.com
It's quite possible that graphic novels would not have taken the foothold they did in education were it not for the movement towards offering students, especially reluctant readers, a more visual experience of reading. This was not an exercise in oversimplifying curriculum; rather, it was one aimed at engaging a generation of readers who inhabited, and were conversant with, a far more visual culture than their parents. As Sir Ken Robinson notes in his landmark Ted Talk on Changing Educational Paradigms, gone are the days when students can simply be told to sit and do because that's what's good for them.
Over the next few weeks I'll be sharing with you a number of series that I had the privilege to work on over the course of the last decade--series that sought to do what I've just described. Their success, however, should not simply end with us looking back contentedly and seeing that we've served the needs of reluctant readers. Graphical text and visual narrative must be more fully understood and embraced by teachers whose students are already highly motivated and able readers.
So, here's the first series we'll look at: Rubicon / Harcourt's Boldprint:
Boldprint books are a series of titles designed with reluctant readers in mind. Built around engaging themes that have both an historical and contemporary focus, the books feature articles, poems, graphic stories, illustrations, and personal accounts that captivate young readers. In 2009, Boldprint received the Teacher’s Choice Award for Classroom Magazines from Learning Magazine. I wrote 6 titles for the series, which is also published in French as A La Une.
Dr. Glen Downey is an award-winning children's author, educator, and academic from Oakville, Ontario. He works as a children's writer for Rubicon Publishing, a reviewer for PW Comics World, an editor for the Sequart Organization, and serves as the Chair of English and Drama at The York School in Toronto.
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