LITTLE SILVER: TEACHING THE GRAPHIC NOVEL

saravanessPress release from Red Bank Regional High School

Sara Van Ness, an English teacher at Red Bank Regional High School, is a very accomplished young woman. She acquired her masters in English from Monmouth University and is currently enrolled in doctoral program at Rowan University for Educational Leadership. She spends her summers as a therapeutic horseback riding instructor for children with special needs. And, she is about to have her third scholarly work published on the graphic novel — a love she nourishes at RBR where she teaches a rare high school course on the subject.

Van Ness describes the graphic novel, a genre that really gained mainstream popularity in the mid 1980s, as an interactive medium that combines visual images and words in a form that resembles a long comic book. Some popular graphic novels include Watchmen by Alan Moore and David Gibbons, Maus by American cartoonist Art Spiegelman, and The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller.

This has evolved to become a very popular English elective at RBR (a course established four years ago from Ms. Van Ness’s proposal to administration). Sara continues, “It has been wonderful to see students, who may not be avid readers outside of school, taking an interest in reading and even checking the graphic novels out of the library. These books are terrific, especially for visual learners.”

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