06 Oct Slice of Life: How Many Points Would You Give a Graphic Novel?
“I thought you decided to read March?”
“I was, but I changed my mind.”
“Did you not like it? You love history, especially this time period, it surprises me you didn’t like it.”
“Oh, I liked it.”
“Then why aren’t you reading it?”
“My teacher said it would only be worth half a point because it is a graphic novel. I don’t want to keep track of half points so I decided not to read it.”
This moment with my son has stayed with me. It was one of those moments when I had to balance being a mother and a teacher. I loved his teacher. She made great book recommendations, conferred with students, made time for independent reading and encouraged students to form book clubs. She held students accountable for reading six books (points) of their choice per term. I did not agree with this decision, but I respected her as a teacher. I did not know what to do.
Should I complain? Should I encourage my son to speak with her? Should I let it go?
I decided to reread March to experience it as a reader. Was it worth half a point? This book was so powerful on so many levels. The media of the graphic novel only added power to this memoir. It was not worth half a point.
I shared my thoughts with my son. I explained my thinking about books and why I did not consider this book, or really any book, worth half a point. It is not about the length of a book, it is about the thinking a reader does in response to a book. A reader can have complex thoughts about any text. I also shared that I understood that his teacher was trying to help him find a balance in the books he was reading and to assure he was challenging himself as a student. I then asked him if he wanted to talk with his teacher about it.
No. It is fine. Last month I read The Book Thief and got two points because it was so long. I think it is fair.
I then suggested he might read books one and two of March and together they would make one.
I’ll think about it.
In the end, he did read them both and wrote a response about them. His teacher, who was inspired to read them, gave him two points.
At first, graphic novels may seem easier, shorter, or less complex than other texts. We cannot let the format deceive us. There are many layers of meaning in graphic novels. Graphic novels are also written in many genres so it is a great way to expose students to a genre they may not typically read or a transition to other texts. I know this teacher no longer considers graphic novels to always be worth a half a point!
This month we are celebrating graphic novels on our blog – #GNCelebration.
It’s not too late to join us for #GNCelebration! Here’s how you can participate:
- Grab a Badge(just copy the URL address of the one above or take a screenshot)
- Join the #GNCelebration Google Community
- Read Graphic Novels: All you need to do is read and/or reread some graphic novels. Choose some you want to blog about.
- Write Your Post: Each Thursday in October, write a post about graphic novels, a graphic novel series or a graphic novel author. In your post, please include the age range recommendations for your books and share why you love them so other readers can match books to their students. If you want to share ideas of how you use these texts instructionally, go for it!
- Share Your Post: Each Thursday in October post your blog and link it to the #GNCelebration Google Community (https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/117918938245141547958)
- No Blog?: If you don’t have a blog, it is really easy to just post directly into the Google Community without a blog. We will also be tweeting from the #GNCelebration hashtag.
- Comment: Each Thursday, take some time to read posts from other participants and please comment on at least three