Should graphic novels be included in English classes?


Max Spiegel

Graphic novels continue to spark debates among students and teachers as to whether or not they are a valuable tool in English classes.

Max Spiegel and Tanner Kannan

English classes generally involve reading and analyzing lengthy books, but graphic novels are emerging as a potential new inclusion in the curriculum. A graphic novel is a novel that portrays a story with more pictures than words. The GH Falcon asked a few students and teachers their thoughts on the incorporation of graphic novels in English classes.

English II and AP Literature teacher Ms. Diorio stated that she believes graphic novels being included in classes was important. Diorio said, “A lot of times with graphic novels you just have to, you know, give students the option, that way students can sort of decide what’s best for them.” She believes that rather than strictly teaching chapter books, students should have a choice between reading graphic novels or traditional chapter books.

When asked if he would prefer a chapter book or a graphic novel, student Elijah Free (‘26) said, “I´d say I prefer traditional chapter books just because I feel like they go into much more detail about what’s going on because they don’t have the option of just drawing it out.” He believes that although graphic novels may be able to help some students, chapter books are much easier to analyze for assignments.

Gloria Cho (‘24), however, thinks otherwise.. She said, “If I had to explain about the book I think with the pictures and graphics that describe the scene it’d be very specific.” She also considers graphic novels more entertaining than chapter books, with illustrations that help build understanding of a novel..

Mr. Coyle, an English I & II teacher, believes reading chapter books is important at a broader level. “The reason that we teach the books that we do teach isn’t because those books are the best at teaching whatever lesson it is that they’re teaching, like ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ the reason I teach it isn’t because that I think this is the best book that teaches [that] racism is bad, the reason I teach “To Kill a Mockingbird” over another book that might have the same theme is because everyone has read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and so you can relate to other people on a cultural level that way.” He believes that if any student in the U.S. was to go up to someone else and ask them if they knew of “To Kill a Mockingbird” they would. He admits that a graphic novel may be more interesting, but is usually less important than a traditional chapter book.

Graphic novels continue to spark debate among students and teachers as to whether or not they are a valuable tool in English classes.