Graphic novels are fiction or nonfiction books presented in comic book format that
require multimodal literacy for understanding. To determine how students make
meaning of and respond to a graphic novel, 23 twelfth grade students in a political
science class read American Born Chinese twice. This study employed qualitative
methods based on reader-response theory. Types of data collected included oral and
written responses of students, student reading questionnaires, teacher and student
interviews, observations as recorded in researcher field notes, and student created
comics. Responses were coded through a process of reduction and interpretation.
Results indicated that reading a graphic novel was a new experience for the majority of
participants and they enjoyed the book. With the introduction of comics conventions
and further development of multimodal literacy skills, students acquired new
knowledge on a second reading of the book. Evidence from this study supports the
benefits of teaching comics conventions and reading graphic novels as part of the
curriculum to improve multimodal literacy skills.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. February 2009. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Dr. Richard Beach. 1 computer file (PDF); xi, 226 pages, appendices A-T. Ill. (some col.)
Hammond, Heidi Kay.
Graphic novels and multimodal literacy: a reader response study..
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