Graphic Novels as Cognitive and Creative Support for Emergent Literacy Learners: Integrating Multimedia Components into the Traditional and Innovative Emergent Literacy Learner Instructional Environment

By Denise McDonald and Caroline M. Crawford.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Artistic endeavors creatively support the conceptual and cognitive literary needs of emergent literacy learners, through the innovative integration of graphic novels into the literacy learning environment. Not only do graphic novels support the learner’s understanding of contextual representation, but concerns related to the learner’s cognitive load are enriched through the conceptual framework of understanding through instructor-designed complementary visualizations. Comic books are growing up, with a more complex literary structure that supports the needs of emergent readers. At this point in the graphic novel’s development, the term “graphic novel” is captivating reading enthusiasts as a potential enhancement within the field of emergent literacy learners. Graphic novels propose a graphic interface through which to communicate, with a primarily visual mode supporting the emergent reader’s understanding of the contextually-enhanced story line. As we move from the Information Age towards the Cognitive Age, the emergent literacy learner must develop an understanding of not only textual representations of information, but must also develop a cognitive understanding of graphic representations of information that also integrate semiotic support for societal and cultural levels of literacy. At the same time, instructor-developed graphic novels enhance the learner’s needs to visualize components of information, while learner-developed graphic novels offer creative outlets through which to utilize graphic situations that allows the development of a conceptually appropriate story.

Keywords: Graphic Novel, Cognition, Emergent Literacy, Learner, Multimedia, Innovation, Instruction, Learning Environment, Cognitive Load, Higher Order Thinking Skills, Communication, Interactive Activities, Learner-centered, Instructor-designed

The International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.21-28. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 556.380KB).

Dr. Denise McDonald

Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, School of Education, University of Houston-Clear Lake, Houston, Texas, USA

Denise McDonald, Ed.D., is an Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Houston – Clear Lake, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in curriculum planning, instructional strategies and classroom management. Her research interests include learning motivation, reflective pedagogy and qualitative methodology.

Dr. Caroline M. Crawford

Associate Professor, Instructional Technology, University of Houston-Clear Lake, Houston, Texas, USA

Caroline M. Crawford, Ed.D., is an Associate Professor of Instructional Technology at the University of Houston-Clear Lake in Houston, Texas, USA. At this point in Dr. Crawford's professional career, her main areas of interest focus upon the appropriate and successful integration of technologies into the learning environment.


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