Library Receives Dollar General Literacy Foundation Grant
The Toledo Lucas County Public Library (TLCPL) has been awarded a Youth Literacy Grant from The Dollar General Literacy Foundation to fund a youth Comic Book Club. The book club that will use graphic novels to provide a different reading experience to kids in the Jr. High grades.
Comic Book Club will be delivered by TLCPL at Maumee City Schools' Gateway Middle School and St. Patrick of Heatherdowns School. Franco Vitella, a Maumee Branch Teen Librarian, will introduce students to the comics medium through a discussion group during the 2019-2020 school year.
Vitella will facilitate two sets of 4 discussion meetings during the year for 25 students each. Students of all abilities, including those reading below grade level or with learning disabilities, will be welcome to participate.
"Comic books and graphic novels have increased in popularity over the past few years, especially among kids. In fact, book publishers have been putting out graphic novels specifically for the age group Comic Book Club is going to serve: middle schoolers in grades 6-8," says Vitella.
The group will discuss a different comic at each meeting that students select from the Association for Library Service to Children's Grade 6-8 Graphic Novel Reading Lists. The lists include classics and new titles that have been widely recommended and well-reviewed, and books that have popular appeal and critical acclaim.
Grant funds will be used to purchase copies of selected graphic novels for participants to keep. This is a critical aspect of the program as having books in the home is a key factor of educational attainment for children. The program will also provide access to comics for readers who otherwise have not encountered comics before and are unfamiliar with the different forms books may take.
The program will meet objectives of supporting emerging readers and building reading comprehension by focusing on a reading experience that is unique to comics and discussing those elements, such as lettering, embedded meanings, and visual narrative.
Vitella says, "Comics are an important literacy tool. They help students build visual literacy skills by interpreting combined images and text. Our project aims to improve literacy skills through reading for pleasure and coming together to talk about the books, so there is an aspect of having fun and making reading accessible for reluctant readers."
Student improvement will be achieved by:
- 50 students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of and correctly utilize at least 5 comics-related terms by the end of the program.
- 50 students will develop increased confidence in reading comics, to be measured through pre- and post-evaluation surveys.
-50 students will be exposed to at least 3 different types of graphic novel topics including fiction, nonfiction, and biography/memoir.
- 50 students will increase their ability to define literary devices used in the graphic novel selections, including theme, point of view, allusion, foreshadowing, tone, mood, symbolism and meaning, setting, use of color, and visual cues and realization. Since comics are multimodal, combining aspects of visual and textual literacy, students will gain further communication skills in being able to discuss multiple literacies. These results will be measured by pre- and post-assessment surveys and through observation of facilitator as students progress through the program.
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