Why graphic novels belong in the school library

Comics and graphic novels are hugely popular in the library, and we take pride in our extensive collection.

Not all children like to read novels, so comics and graphic novels are valid way to attempt to increase their interest in reading.

Graphic novels, by their very nature, draw readers into the story, making the reading process more interactive, engaging and fun.  And they don’t just appeal to younger or struggling readers.  All levels of readers are attracted by the amazing artworks and action-packed story lines.  These days the quality and diversity of graphic novels available is enormous.

Graphic novels empower 21st Century learners.  Today’s students are bombarded with verbal and visual communication, on their phones, on the computers, from Instagram to Snapchat.  Graphic novels present ideas, dialogue and emotions through concise text and images, helping students develop their ability to process visual driven information.

The following is taken from the article,  “How comics & graphic novels can help your child love to read” by Meryl Jaffe, PhD.

“Graphic novels foster and strengthen multiple learning skills essential for success in and out of the classroom in the following ways:

Attention and attention to detail.

Reading and integrating text and illustrations in graphic novels help students slow down as they read and facilitate observation of and focus on details.  The short bursts of text empower students who have weak attention skills, helping them focus on language and the unfolding plot while the engaging art holds their attention and draws them into the details.


Graphic novels pair visual and verbal storylines, creating additional memory pathways and associations.  Research shows that our brain processes and stores visual information faster and more efficiently than it does verbal information.  As a result, incorporating graphic novels into home and school libraries and pairing them with traditional prose texts are excellent means of promoting verbal skills and memory.

Sequencing skills

Graphic novel panels and their sequential arrangement of page and story visually and verbally break the story into easily recognizable parts.  As a result, readers automatically focus on its sequence, reinforcing concepts of beginning, middle and end.  Furthermore, students can easily chart development of story, character, plot and themes over time.

Language and language usage

Graphic novels appeal to all language learners and readers.  The concise text highlights word usage and vocabulary.  The illustrations help define and reinforce vocabulary.

Critical thinking

Graphic novels reinforce critical thinking in a number of ways.  Abstract concepts such as inference, metaphor, and social context are often difficult concepts for kids to comprehend.  They are usually taught through classroom discussions, which pose a distinct challenge for visual learners, students who have weak language skills, or concrete learners who have weak high-order cognitive skills. ”

So don’t dismiss your child’s choice of graphic novels as reading material.  They are a valued way to engage more students in reading for leisure, which is a proven way to aid academic success.

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