Saturday, March 6, 2010

My First Experience with Manga...

I went to a workshop last week on using graphic novels in the classroom.  There was a lot of information about the different ways we can study graphic novels - the art, the literary qualities, and the comic features, but for me one of the most interesting parts was when the presenter provided us with a copy of a short story from a manga serial and asked us to spend 5 minutes reading it.

Now, as much as I think that graphic novels are a great addition to my classroom and they have helped tremendously with my reluctant and weak readers, I have yet to read one from cover to cover.  I just can't get through one.  I do not like being slowed down by the pictures when I am reading and I find them much more difficult to read and comprehend than traditional text based novels.

So, when we were handed the copy and then instructed that we had to read right to left I thought I was going to be out to lunch for sure.  Well, I was shocked at how easy it was to get into the rhythm of reading 'backwards' and I found myself engaged in the story quite quickly.  Altogether it was a very interesting experience which would not have been as positive had I not been 'guided' through the reading.  Funny how the strategies we use with students work with adults just as well...

I would like to get more comfortable with reading and interpreting graphic novels so that I can teach them in my classroom and I would like to get my hands on a copy of Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud to get a better handle on the techniques used in these books.

By the way, the comic we read in the workshop was from the Manga Series: Black Jack - quite an interesting series about a brilliant doctor who operates without the proper certification and often outside of expected ethical and legal bounds.

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