Useful texts

Jean says:
My favourite texts for middle school students include

  • Tintin ( begun as a series as long ago as 1929) -- There is also now a filmed version that could be used as a paired text. Picture 5.pngUseful for its tremendous detail and variety in each picture panel and its running dialogue that means you have to read the text and not just read the images. By the time a reader gets to the end, they will have worked through some some 700 illustrations per book and 8000 words, without even being aware that this volume of language has been undertaken.

Lesson ideas

Jean suggests:
  • To focus on how a comic or graphic novel works, project a variety of styles of covers and a couple of pages from each onto the big screen, which will involve scanning this content beforehand. The endpoint assessment task, after considerable scaffolding, could be that students create a design for their own comic/graphic novel, which could be a sequel or variation on a theme introduced in the original text. This does not have to be a finished product, as it can be assessed through a 'producer's statement' (written or oral) that accompanies the process of creation or by "instructions to a new writer", using the product created as an exemplar.
  • Books like Tintin are excellent for reading aloud, which can be done by scanning in a few pages as a taster to project and discuss on the big screen as to how the comic structure 'works' OR preferably putting students in groups of 3 or 4, with the reader rotating among the group and doing a show-and-tell, as in the Big Books lessons they will remember from junior primary school. Emphasise that the role of the reader is to create dramatic interest.

Research resources