Multiple Literacies Being Developed in the Literature Classroom: Hieroglyphics to Graphic Novels

byMeghan Senjanin

This curriculum unit analyzes the image-text relationship throughout literary history in an effort to keep students engaged by connecting the current sophomore curriculum to their lives today. Despite being products of a vastly image-saturated and technological world, many don’t have a well-developed visual or media literacy--the ability to critically evaluate images independently and images paired with text. This unit focuses on unifying the year’s curriculum through analyzing and studying the image-text relationship, while improving students’ multiple literacies--a valuable 21st century skill. 

Part one (2-3 weeks at the beginning of the year, but could also stand alone) sets the stage for the sophomore curriculum with the following goals: defining what various literacies are, establishing and identifying the interplay and synergy of text and image, assessing students’ current level of visual and media literacies, and making a connection between how humans have read in the past and how they read now.  Part two will improve students’ multiple literacies by moving through literary history, analyzing the evolution of the text and image relationship while keeping the Statement of Inquiry and essential questions constantly in mind.  There is also an emphasis on introducing the feminist, Marxist, archetypal, and reader response literary criticism lenses. Authors and texts include The Canterbury Tales, Shakespeare, Blake, cummings, emojis, and more.

(Developed for English II, grade 10; recommended for English, Art, and Reading, grades 9-11)

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