Encouraging a "Kaleidoscope of Views": Graphic Literature as a Tool for Informative Text Comprehension in the Secondary English Classroom

Chelsea Ellen Bergmann, Winthrop University


Over the past decade, graphic literature has fueled the conversations of theory and criticism among scholars and educators alike. With the critical need to teach informative texts and college-ready skills in secondary schools, the debate arises on how these mediums can be further used to extend the capabilities of young readers in a 21st century global community. Thus far, the scholarship on graphic literature in the secondary English classroom proves to be helpful in certain areas, while revealing a gap in others. Missing wholly are discussions about targeted reading comprehension skills particularly related to informative texts and their writer’s purpose, such as being able to understand work that informs, critiques, or proposes solutions necessary to be successful. Thus, teachers need to begin developing and collecting the necessary pedagogical tools needed to help inform the reading of these pivotal texts so that students can successfully practice reading and identifying them in other forms of informational text. My thesis addresses this gap by offering an analysis of how graphic literature can deepen students' understanding of informative texts, no matter the genre. By interacting with three examples of graphic literature that express the range of works available, as well as pedagogical analyses and theories surrounding English education, I argue that graphic literature can be used to better solidify the comprehension of informational texts through its unique construction that relies on the working relationship between words and images, leaving opportunities for deeper inquiry and exploration of the texts as a whole. More specifically, in exploring these works as potential mentor texts, I demonstrate how graphic literature can foster the comprehension of informational text features and writer’s purposes through exploratory, student-centered inquiry and engagement. In developing these arguments, I will offer insight for secondary English teachers to begin considering and integrating graphic literature as a means of offering a kaleidoscope of views through which students can explore new meaning and understanding.