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Element 5b

Synthesis of Thematic Elements found in Research

Research Charts
Synthesis of Thematic Elements found in Research:
To start planning for my actual response, I found it useful to lump my readings into
different categories based on their subject matter and then arranged it by Connelly and
Clandinins categories as well. The sources I used in my research helped to serve different goals,
so not all had obvious correlations, but I found myself very inspired by what I read.
One of my most important goals of researching was to find information on how to get
students not just to read Graphic Novels, but to get them to create their own. Many peer
reviewed papers have been published on the act of reading graphic novels in the classroom; far
fewer have been published on writing. The two main texts I used came from Bitz (2004) and
Morrison, Bryan & Chilcoat (2002). Both of these materials were similar in that they discussed
the creation of graphic novels in an extracurricular setting. Both acknowledged that graphic
novels are usually seen as popular amongst teenagers, and therefore easy to build buy in. In The
Comic Book Project (2004), Michael Bitz set out with the goal (or the assumption that) by
having students create their own comics, they would be build[ing] literacy and artistic skills
(p.575). Similarly, Morrison, Bryan, and Chilcoats (2002) purpose was to help students
develop their writing, comprehension, and research skills in a cross-curricular activity (759).
As these two sources had the most to do with my overall project, I found myself referencing
them most frequently; it was pleasant to see that they had much in common with each other.
Perhaps the most striking similarity was their treatment of the student and the teacher.
Both sources acknowledged that literacy teachers often feel somewhat uneasy teaching art skills
and spent a good deal of time talking through basic comic book/ graphic novel construction
terminology and how to scaffold the information to students. Both also recognized that studentsthough engaged by reading the graphic novels in the library- would find the process of creating
one difficult. Because both articles had detailed, step-by-step instructions in them, I found myself
using them almost exclusively while developing my grading rubric.
But I knew that I would also need to research using graphic novels to build reading
literacy as well, which I why I included many articles which treated graphic novels as literature.
All of these sources- Versaci (2001), Gorman & Eastman (2010), Schwarz & Crenshaw (2011),
Dallacqua (2012), Ching & Fook (2013)- as well as Bitz (2004) and Morrison, Bryan & Chilcoat
(2002) noted that the graphic novel (or comic book, or graphic narrative) was becoming
increasingly popular, though they have a rich history which dates back to the late 1800s. Most
sources which discussed graphic novels as texts to analyze for their literary merit also noted that
they were incredibly engaging for struggling readers. Versaci and Bucher both noted, however,
that though they were engaging to these struggling readers, they were no less difficult than
traditional novels, in terms of comprehension. Because graphic novels use images, students also
have to be adept at understanding how to fill in the blanks to create a full story; graphic novels
often have more subtle details than that of a traditional text. Students must learn to look for the
foreground and background, implied (and not overt) transitions between scenes, and so forth.
All texts about reading the graphic novels asserted that they should be included in the
actual classroom, though many also conceded that people still have a misunderstanding of how
academically rigorous they are. Much like Bitz (2004) and Morrison, Bryan, and Chilcoat

(2002), my sources all bemoaned that graphic novels- despite their popularity- are commonly
seen as significantly less relevant and rigorous than other options. The only article that did not
address the legitimacy of graphic novels was Botshon and Plastas 2009 article about Marjane
Satrapis autobiographical text Persepolis. This article treated the graphic novel in question as a
way to introduce cultural and political literacy into the classroom, and never once questioned the
legitimacy of graphic novels as a form of literature.
Though I could not find any research on using graphic images as a tool for revision (not
hugely surprising), I did find several texts with suggestions on how to inspire students to
complete deep revision tasks. Because a significant goal of this overall project was to show
students that revision is deeper than editing for commas and spelling, I wanted to include
revision as one of my research topics. Perhaps one of my biggest surprises with this was that
there were very few recently published research or peer reviewed articles on revision. Weigl
(1976) and Otten (1988) both provided foundational definitions of revision, and guidelines for
what constituted real revision versus surface level editing, only Early & Saidy (2014) gave me
inspiration for how to implement deeper revision tasks into lessons and student activities.
However, their revision tasks were hugely time consuming and detailed, so I found myself paring
down much of their strategies when trying to implement them in my own classroom. The three
texts did, however, have commonalities in that they stressed the need for writers to really
consider the purpose behind their text as the inspiration for their revision. This aided my graphic
novel project because I wanted to students to see how changing the form of a text- from a
traditional short story to a graphic novel, for instance- could enhance the overall purpose of the
Overall, I found that there is quite a bit of research about using graphic novels to promote
literacy with struggling readers, and quite a bit about using it as an engagement strategy in
classrooms. There was far less literature to review about the creation of graphic novels, and
revision practices within creative writing. I am not surprised by this. Graphic novels are highly
engaging, but the creation of them seems more like a project for after school groups, because
they can be a challenge to take on in a traditional classroom.


Research Chart: Connelly and Clandinins Categories

Intentional Structural
Gorman &
Bryan, &
Eastman (2010)
Chilcoat (2002)
Bitz (2004) Ching &
Early & Saidy
Botshon &
Schwarz &
Crenshaw (2011)
Dallacqua (2012)
Kadjer (2004)

Sources by Subject Matter: My Personal Research Chart

Some sources are repeated because they addressed more than one topic of interest to me!
Novels to

Novels to

Versaci (2001)

Bitz (2004)

Gorman &

Bryan, &

Novels to


Bitz (2004)

Weigl (1976)

Bryan, &

Otten (1988)

Schwarz &


Early &
Saidy (2014)



Ching & Fook



Novels as

Technology in
the Classroom

Kajder (2004)

Bitz, M. (2004). The comic book project: Forging alternative pathways to literacy. Journal of
Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 47(7), 574-586.
Botshon, L., & Plastas, M. (2009). Homeland In/Security: A discussion and workshop on
teaching marjane satrapi's "Persepolis. Feminist Teacher: A Journal of the Practices,
Theories, and Scholarship of Feminist Teaching, 20(1), 1-14.
Bucher, K. T., & M, L. M. (2004). Bringing graphic novels into a school's curriculum. The
Clearing House, 78(2), 67-72.
Ching, H. S., & Fook, F. S. (2013). Effects of multimedia-based graphic novel presentation on
critical thinking among students of different learning approaches. Turkish Online Journal
of Educational Technology - TOJET, 12(4), 56-66.
Dallacqua, A. K. (2012). Exploring literary devices in graphic novels. Language Arts, 89(6),
Early, J. S., & Saidy, C. (2014). Uncovering substance: Teaching revision in high school
classrooms. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 58(3), 209-218.
Gorman, R., & Eastman, G. S. (2010). "I see what you mean": Using visuals to teach metaphoric
thinking in reading and writing. English Journal, 100(1), 92-99.
Kajder, S. (2004). Plugging in: What technology brings to the English/Language arts classroom.
Voices from the Middle, 11(3), 6-9.
Morrison, T. G., Bryan, G., & Chilcoat, G. W. (2002). Using student-generated comic books in
the classroom. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 45(8), 758-767.
Otten, N., & Stelmach, M. (1988). Changing the story that we all know (Creative
Reading/Creative writing). English Journal,77(6), 67-68.

Schwarz, G., & Crenshaw, C. (2011). Old media, new media: The graphic novel as
bildungsroman. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 3(1), 47-53.
Versaci, R. (2001). How comic books can change the way our students see literature: One
teacher's perspective. English Journal, 91(2), 61-67.
Weigl, B. (1976). Revision as a creative process. English Journal, 65(6), 67-68.