Great Sites & Resources · Language

Graphic Novels

Sometimes great therapy ideas come to me when I have one minute to think of an activity and just grab the closest thing next to me and make it work! I was collecting a middle school student while thinking ‘how can I make his goals reflect his school curriculum?’ when I noticed he was still carrying his 8th grade reading book. I had a quick browse through it and discovered a new genre: The graphic novel!

The Wikipedia definition describes it perfectly:

graphic novel is a narrative work in which the story is conveyed to the reader using sequential art, either in an experimental design or in a traditional comics format.


So my hunt began in the school library for other graphic novels and I now have a huge stack ranging from Frankenstein to Hercules and Moby Dick. They instantly motivate students and given the right novel, can be incredibly visually engaging. There are graphic novels for much wider age groups than middle schoolers – ask your local library or librarian for their range.

How I use graphic novels in therapy:

  • Work on sequencing goals
  • Formulating simple, compound and complex sentences
  • Using subordinating and coordinating conjunctions
  • Comprehension goals such as inferencing and main idea
  • Social communication goals referring to body language, facial expressions and non verbal language
  • Understand narrative components such as plot, theme and characters

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