How to Homeschool Literature With Graphic Novels: Everything You Need To Get Started

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Homeschooling with graphic novels is an effective way to teach a variety of topics and skills. Graphic novels are engaging as well as educational and most kids love reading them. In fact, graphic novels continue to rise in popularity, making them readily available on a wide variety of topics.

A graphic novel can offer a change of pace and add some variety to your homeschool study or can become a central part of your literature selections depending on how your child responds to them. No matter how you use them, graphic novels are a great addition to your homeschool year.

Find all of the tips and ideas you need to use graphic novels in your homeschool.

The Value Of Adding Graphic Novels To Your Homeschool Study

Graphic novels are a form of literature that uses sequential art and text to tell a story, similar to a comic book. A graphic novel is a writing format, not a literary genre, so you can find graphic novels in a variety of book genres.

This makes homeschooling literature with graphic novels easy to do because you can easily find non-fiction titles in addition to a variety of fiction genres. It’s easy to find a graphic novel for any subject in your homeschool.

And there are plenty of great reasons that graphic novels can be a valuable addition to a homeschool curriculum.

Untapped Educational Potential

The unique and engaging format of a graphic novel is a great way for students to learn information and ideas. Combining text with visual elements allows students to encounter the material in a way that can help them remember it well. 

Graphic novels can supplement traditional curriculum plans and help bring concepts to life. For example, a graphic novel about the American Revolution might be used as an additional book title for a history lesson, or a graphic novel about science might be used to supplement a science lesson.

In addition to reading graphic novels in specific subject areas, students can discuss various literary elements using graphic novels. Students can study characterization, theme, climax, plot, and any other literary elements a homeschool parent wants to discuss.

Best of all, students can discuss how both the story AND the graphics contribute to various literary elements. Of course, this leads to another valuable reason you should read graphic novels in your homeschool study…

Develop Visual Literacy

Being able to think critically about images is an important skill in today’s society. Graphic novels help readers develop their ability to understand, create, and talk about images because images are such an integral part of the story.

Readers must pay attention to the important content contained in the images. This can include the emotions and feelings of the characters as well as actions that are part of the plot. Sometimes readers will even find visual foreshadowing providing clues and hints to the plot.

Foster a Love of Reading

In addition to their educational value, graphic novels can also be a great way to foster a love of reading in students. The graphic format is often engaging for many reluctant readers because of the visual format.

Graphic novels often cover a wide range of genres and topics, making it easy for students to find something that interests them. This can help to encourage a lifelong love of reading and learning.

Build Vocabulary

Because graphic novels use fewer words than traditional books, the words that are used have to be chosen very carefully. This often leads to advanced vocabulary choices in order to best convey the emotions and plot elements.

A stack of graphic novels for teaching literature in your homeschool.

Aid Comprehension

Homeschooling with graphic novels can help aid comprehension because the images and text work together to tell the story. Students can use visual clues in addition to the text to better understand the story. This format can be particularly helpful to reluctant or struggling readers.

Reading a graphic novel can be a particularly handy option when students are studying classical literature and work by Shakespeare. The original versions of these works can be tedious to read and understand. A graphic novel version can help lay the foundation of understanding in a fun and meaningful way.

Provide Reading Variety

Exposing students to a variety of writing formats is just as important as exposing them to a variety of literature genres. The graphic novel format can add interest to a homeschool curriculum that includes more traditional novels. A graphic novel is also a great way to get out of a reading slump.

Experience Diverse Stories

Finally, homeschooling literature with graphic novels can be a great way to introduce students to diverse perspectives and cultures. Many graphic novels are written by and about people from diverse backgrounds, which can help students to broaden their understanding of the world and become more empathetic toward others.

Graphic Novels For All Ages

Many parents make the mistake of believing that graphic novels are only for little kids.

While there are plenty of fantastic graphic novels written for early readers, it’s important to recognize the variety of graphic novels available for ALL ages, including adults.

Homeschooling with graphic novels works for all ages from preschool through the high school years. While your younger children will enjoy the humor and delight of graphic novels for kids, your high schooler will find a readily available collection of graphic novels better suited for older children.

Middle and high school students can find dystopic tales, mysteries, classic adaptations, biographies, and even Shakespeare in graphic novel format. This list of over 150 graphic novels for kids of all ages will help you get started no matter the ages of your children.

A huge display of graphic novels that are available for homeschool literature study.

How To Add Graphic Novels To Your Homeschool

There is no one right way to add graphic novels to your homeschool curriculum. The amount of graphic novel reading you include will depend on the way your children respond to the literature format as well as the curriculum choices you make.

Graphic Novel as a Curriculum Supplement

I encourage everyone to include at least one graphic novel in their curriculum during the school year. This is a great way to provide your children exposure to this writing format without overwhelming them if they aren’t immediately intrigued.

Find a graphic novel on a particular history or science topic, a biography, or in a particular literary genre. Allow your child to simply read and enjoy the graphic novel without a lot of forced study.

By including 1-2 graphic novels throughout the year, you can familiarize your child with this writing format without changing your original homeschool plans.

Graphic Novel Homeschool Study

Dig a little deeper into the graphic novel format by reading and discussing several graphic novels with your kids. You can use some of my suggestions for specific graphic novel titles or read a few of your own choices and use this graphic novel discussion guide:

Grab a set of questions to discuss any graphic novel with your middle school child.

Graphic Novel Read Aloud

I have to be honest – it’s tricky to read a graphic novel out loud. It’s not impossible, but it is a challenge. I recommend doing it a few times to introduce the format to your children and help them learn techniques for reading a graphic novel. Though, honestly, they’ll probably end up pointing things out to YOU instead.

I read a few graphic novels out loud with my children so I could introduce this unique writing format to my kids. By reading the graphic novel together, I was able to point out visual clues and important elements in the graphics. We were able to discuss the format and various strategies for reading. This is

The key to reading aloud a graphic novel is to make sure that everyone can see the pictures as you read. So pick a good seating arrangement and dive in!

A Graphic Novel Year

One of my children responded extremely well to graphic novels. She never enjoyed reading traditional novels, even through high school. She is perfectly capable of reading them but she is drawn to the visual elements in a graphic novel.

As a result, we decided to spend an entire year reading only graphic novels for her eighth-grade homeschool literature course. It was a risky decision but I remember saying to my husband, “Let’s be honest. If Tricia writes a book sometime, it’s going to be a graphic novel.”

We selected a different graphic novel to read and study each month. I had NO idea what I was doing at the time, but I knew we would have fun and learn together. We spent time talking about various plot elements (characters, theme, etc) as well as the graphics (mood, design, etc). It was an engaging year and we both learned so much.

The once-a-month graphic novel wasn’t the only reading she did during the year. She read tons of graphic novels on her own and I am always reading books aloud to my kids, yes, I even read aloud to my teens!

There are so many ways to incorporate graphic novels into your homeschool year. I hope you’ll give it a try!

A Graphic Novel Book Discussion

Take a peek at the way I conduct a graphic novel book discussion in my weekly graphic novel book club on Outschool. Then you can use the Discussion Questions for any Graphic Novel to help you have a similar discussion with your own children.

Graphic Novels You Won’t Want To Miss

The Ultimate List of Graphic Novels for All Ages

Over 30 Graphic Novels Your Elementary Schooler will Love

Another Fantastic List of Graphic Novels for Kids

25 Graphic Novels Your Middle Schooler Will Enjoy

The Best Graphic Novels to Engage Early Readers

Ideas and tips so you can homeschool literature with graphic novels.

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