Perpetua: The UAH Journal of Undergraduate Research


College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences




Graphic novels have significantly grown in popularity over the past decade, increasing their impact on modern literary culture. In an effort to engage reluctant readers in literacy education, teachers have utilized graphic novels in their classroom as a bridge to higher forms of literature. The rich illustrations, expressive dialogue, and diversity in topic and voice make graphic novels a viable tool for introducing challenging topics into the classroom. Additionally, educators have looked to graphic novels for their apparent approachability to engage reluctant readers. In this sense, the graphic novel is utilized as a scaffolding tool to higher, text-based forms of literature. While educators often see the added benefits of utilizing graphic novels in the classroom, they continue to prescribe to the notion that the graphic novel is a lower form of literature viable only when used as a scaffold to higher print-based novels that encourage traditional literacy. Looking at graphic novels through this lens is limiting and does not explore their full potential in the classroom. Because graphic novels employ images as well as printed words, they are inherently multimodal texts that educators can utilize as tools for exploring multifaceted forms of literacy. This paper argues for the inherent value in graphic novels as a standalone form of literature that should be utilized within the classroom to reach a growing population of students rooted in a multimodal culture.



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