Engaging Readers and Writers with Graphic Novels (and Graphic Nonfiction) Institute: Grades 3-8

Wednesday, April 29 - Friday, May 1, 2020
Apply Now

Grade: 3-8
Featuring: Eric Hand and Hareem Khan

When he called comics the “gateway drug to literacy,” Art Spiegelman (author of Maus) echoed what many educators see firsthand: graphic novels have tremendous power to engage and support even the most reluctant readers. Come and be inspired by the power of graphic novels. What graphic novels should you read aloud? How do you read a graphic novels aloud when so much of it is held in the pictures? How can graphic novels showcase what so many children tend to miss in prose: symbols, motifs, mood, and theme? Finally, how do you support children in the giddily exciting work of creating their very own comics? This institute will answer these questions and more.

You will be led through a series of minilessons that aim to teach readers (and you!) to read and think in graphic novels. You will participate in model lessons around how readers navigate the page in a graphic novel, understanding the “language” of comics, and the important work of inference that takes place within and between the panels. As part of this, you will explore the qualities of graphic novels that make them both supportive and challenging. You will leave armed with strategies that will aid your graphic novel readers to think deeper and see more.

You will be supported in the Project’s latest, most exciting work on using the writing process to teach children to create their own graphic novels. You will learn generating and planning strategies to support writers in creating stories with strong characters and story arcs. You will learn to study mentor graphic novel texts to arm yourself with craft techniques you can use to push writers to elaborate and make ‘crafty’ decisions for their stories. You will see how children can learn to thoughtfully structure and revise their initial efforts, so doodles are elevated into deliberately crafted stories. Needless to say, these are all skills that pay off in huge ways for other genres and forms of writing.

By the end of the institute, you’ll leave the institute with a greater understanding of the power of graphics and all you can do to make use of this medium to support reading and writing growth for your students.


$650/$600 NYC DOE


This institute will take place at the Teachers College campus.
Teachers College, Columbia University
525 W 120th Street
New York, NY