Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Topic Outline

Topic: In the Future, Using Graphic Novels as Alternative Reading Prompts to 11-to-13-year olds in Taiwan

I. Abstract
The purpose of this study aims at discussing an alternative way of using graphic novels to teach reading in English to 11-to-13-year olds in Taiwan.
Due to the immaturity and inexperience of the development of graphic novels in Taiwan, here in this study, the researcher will apply prevailing experience on picture storybook instruction in Taiwan to teaching reading in English, using graphic novels as reading prompts for this two genres are somehow similar among the format, content, and characteristics.
To achieve the purpose of this study, the way of data collection will focus on interview and mainly on documentary analysis.
Hoping to provide a practicable instructional proposal to the field of teaching reading in English in Taiwan, the researcher will refer to graphic novels in circulation in the United States, compare it with the curriculum activities of picture storybook instruction in Taiwan, and put two experienced instructors' opinion in the proposal.

Key words: graphic novel, 11-to-13-year olds, picture storybook instruction

II. Introduction
According to Juel, 1988, 1991; Snow. et al., 1998, reading problems usually begin in the very early stages of reading acquisition, and once they begin, they are rarely overcome. Therefore, it is important that students who experience difficulty learning to read or who are likely to experience difficulty learning to read receive assistance as soon as possible (Snow et al., 1998).
Experienced instructors resist the temptation to focus on remedial skills instruction and instead use popular culture and media afford them a space to provide students with instruction on the craft and mechanic of reading and writing (Nancy & Douglas, 2004).
In this condition, providing an alternative reading prompts goes to the heart of a good reading teacher. Leonardo da Vinci once said, “I urge those who want to express the outshape and the integrant of human with written language to give up the thought for the more details you depict, the more restrictions on reader's mind.” By interpreting and considering his words, nonverbal means of expression is better then verbal ones. To apply da Vinci’s quotes into instruction, that is what a great many operate in pedagogical field; instructors provide pictures to have students associate the words with the realia. It is desirable that students make a direct association between the taught language and meaning.
However, in order to pass on complete and continuing instructional content, providing pictures alone is not informative to students. Affording realia which increases students’ understanding and insight into the topic at hand is more imperative.
Graphic novels and picture storybooks are two genres which are fruitful in teaching reading in English.
Following the researcher will give a clear explanation of the study motive, purpose, important relating nones, the range of the study, and the conclusion of the study.

A. Study Motive
Since English ability has turned out to be the necessary in this society, learning English becomes the mainstream for people in Taiwan, especially students in early ages. A great many consider that the earlier the greater for students to exposure under the whole English environment.
However, with this imperfect and contentious point of view, double-peak phenomenon has arisen in students' English ability-for those who study English well, they really get to learn a lot, conversely, those who study less will usually end up learning nothing-especially at high-grade students. Therefore, how can the instructors re-build low-achievement students' interest in learning English, and at the same time think in terms of those who are at the top of the class is the crux of the matter.
In English learning, reading and writing among the four basic English skills are usually more difficult for juvenile. Once they encounter this, they are grouped in remedial classes, spending countless hours drilling in worksheet and exercises. Yet as Gallego and Hollingsworth remind us, these intervention programs fail to recognize the multiple literacies that the students possess (Nancy & Douglas, 2004). It is imperative to use popular culture to build on students' multiple literacies (Alvermann, Moon, and Hagood, 1999). And here picture storybooks and graphic novels are the best examples which the researcher is going to delve into for they are novel to most instructors, particularly graphic novels.

B. The purpose of this study
There are four purposes to achieve for this study:
1. To delve into graphic novels/graphic novel instruction in circulation in the United States, and picture storybook/picture storybook instruction in circulation in Taiwan.
2. To reorganize these two genres' similarity and differences among the format, content, and characteristics.
3. To combine these two genres' pedagogical curriculum gist into a new instructional guidance for instructors in teaching reading in English.
4. To discuss how the instructors in Taiwan apply prevailing experience on picture storybook instruction to teaching reading in English, using graphic novels as reading prompts.

C. Definition of the Terms
1. Graphic Organizer
In graphic novels, people use lots of graphic organizers to have the readers comprehend the plot more clearly. In order to have a better understanding of graphic organizer, first to comprehend the word "graphic" is a must. According to Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (English-Chinese), "graphic" means a very clear description of an event that gives a lot of details or a tool of constructing knowledge and organizing information.
We may infer from the explanation above that the function of graphic organizer is to change the disjointed information into a structured, simple-to-read, and simple-to understand manner. In educational field, a graphic organizer is an instructional tool used in writing and reading, illustrated a student or class's prior knowledge about a topic or section of text (North Central Regional Educational Library) . Since it gives students an increased understanding and insight into the topic at hand, graphic organizers also direct at concept maps, entity relationship charts, and mind maps.

2. Graphic Novels
According to Wikipedia, Graphic novel is a long-form work in the comics form, usually with lengthy and complex storylines, and often aimed at mature audiences. The advantages of using graphic novel across the curriculum are as following (Gretchen, 2002):
a. Graphic novels offer value, variety, and a new medium for literacy that
acknowledges the impact of visuals.
b. Graphic novels may inspire writing assignment.
c. Social studies is the area in which graphic novel brings new life beyond bland textbooks.
d. In any subject area, studying a graphic novel can bring media literacy into the curriculums as students examine the medium itself.
e. Lavin (1998) suggested that reading graphic novels may require more complex cognitive skills than the reading of text alone.

3. Graphic Novel Instruction
Using a think-aloud technique (Oster 65)

4. Picture Storybooks
Picture storybook is a book in which a story is told through both the words and pictures. Text and illustration occur with equal frequency in these books. (Carol & Carl, 2005)
5. Picture Storybook Instruction

Using a read-aloud technique (Barrentine, 1996)

D. Study Scope
1. Students at High Grade or above

III. Literature Review and Status Analysis
In the last decade, graphic novels have been so popular with middle and high school students in the United States. These novel-length books feature text written in speech bubbles or as captions in comic book-like illustrations (Carol & Carl, 2005). And reluctant readers especially enjoy having these books as a reading option (Carol & Carl, 2005). This is the excellent opportunity with which Taiwanese instructors to consult and re-view the educational field in English reading. Along with the score distribution of elementary-grades, the numbers of student who are under 100 occupy thirty percent, and those who are under 88 occupy twenty five percent, particularly in English and mathematics. This states the fact that the proportion of underachievement does not decrease after the Grade 1-9 Curriculums, but increase.
Yet, the instructors need not feel upset of those underachievement since everyone’s learning speed differs from one another. What far more important is teaching knowledge with students’ cognitive development may help the instructors diminish the instructional burden. From educational point of view, cognitive development is the most important layer in psychological development. Thus, the instructors pay much attention to “knowledge” instruction. If the instructors want to teach students the knowledge, they ought to first understand how they learn the knowledge; and if they want to teach students to think, they must firstly understand their thinking process. Jean Piaget concludes that children in 7~11 or above 11 are in concrete operational stage and in formal operational stage. To compare Piaget's cognitive-developmental theory with development of cognitive representation announced by Professor Bruner, in Harvard University, it is not hard to find out that students of elementary-grade or above it are in iconic representation and symbolic representation. In other words, the instructors are encouraged to use lots of pictures to facilitate their teaching. Since 7- to 11-year olds are able to read and are encourage reading books with plenty illustration, graphic novels may introduce them to literature they might never encounter. Thus, spending countless hours drilling in worksheet and exercises is no longer the only way. And the students and instructors no longer need not struggle with reading and writing in miserable and unwilling mood.
Since children in these stages can acquire knowledge by pictures, shapes or memories to object perception which stays in their mental image, and even they utilize symbol and language in literature to pursue their knowledge, providing graphic novels for juvenile to read timely is quite imperative for children who have had benefit of a rich literature experience will become fluent and willing readers (Carol & Carl, 2005).

A. Graphic Novels/Graphic Novel Instruction in Circulation in the United States

B. Picture Storybooks/Picture Storybook Instruction in Circulation in Taiwan

C. The Comparison and Contrast of Graphic Novels and Picture Storybooks among Format, Content, and Characteristics

D. Children Reading Behavior

IV. Research Methodology
The researcher will have interview with two instructors, who have had the experiences of teaching in English and Chinese over five years.

A. Interviewee
1. Participants
2. Instrument
3. The way of data collection
B. Documentary analysis

V. Result and Discussion
A. In The Future, How Do Instructors in Taiwan Apply Picture Storybook Instruction to Teach Reading in English, using Graphic Novels as reading prompts.

VI. Conclusion

VII. Reference
Alvermann, D. E., Jennifer, S. M., & Margaret, C. H. (1999). Popular Culture in the Classroom: Teaching and Researching Critical Media Literacy. Newark: Internal. Reading Assn. & Natl. Reading Conf.
Barrentine, S. J. (1996). Engaging with reading through interactive read-aloud. The Reading Teacher, 50, 36-43.
Carol, L. B., & Carl, M. T. (2005). Essentials of CHILDREN'S LITERATURE (Rev. 5th ed.) The United States of America: Boston.
Gretchen, E. S. (2002). Graphic Novels for Multiple Literacies. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, Vol. 46.
Juel, C. (1988). Learning to read and write: A longitudinal study of 54 children from first through fourth grades. Journal of Educational Psychology, 80(4), 437-447.
Lavin, M. R. (1998). Comic books and graphic novels for libraries: What to buy. Serials Review, 24(2), 31-46.
Nancy F., & Douglas F. (2004). Using Graphic Novels, Anime, and the Internet in an Urban High School. English Journal, Vol. 93, No. 3.
Oster & Leslie. (2001). "Using the Think-Aloud for Reading Instruction." The Reading Teacher 55.1: 64-69.
VII. Appendix


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