As regular readers of this blog know, my eight-year-old daughter is a huge fan of graphic novels. She's been mixing in more prose-dominant texts of late, particularly for school, but graphic novels still hold a special place in her heart. Her latest innovation is to create graphic novel versions of texts that she is reading. She started last month with a folktale from an anthology, assigned for reading homework. For some reason, she decided that instead of just reading the story, she would adapt it to a graphic novel format.
This took much, much longer than it would have taken her to simply read the story. I eventually had to refuse to let her complete the adaption so that she would have time to finish the actual reading before (her already late) bedtime. I believe she plans to finish at some later time (the anthology didn't come home the next day, otherwise she would have done it right away).
Apart from the fact this it was time-consuming, I supported the effort. To convert a story into another format, one has to first process the story. I also read an article by Emma Young in BPS Research Digest recently that said that "the act of drawing something has a massive benefit for memory compared with writing it down." Here's a snippet:
"Myra Fernandes and colleagues at the University of Waterloo, Canada ... first established what they call the “drawing effect” – getting people to draw quick pictures of words in a list (such as “truck” or “pear”) led to much better recall of those words than writing them out multiple times. Creating just a four-second drawing was also superior to imagining the items or viewing pictures of the words."
There are promising implications here for people with dementia. I'm sure there's more to it than this, but to me it makes sense that the effort of understanding something well enough to draw it probably helps in remembering it. So I could certainly see some academic benefits to my daughter from adapting other narratives to a graphic format. There's also the practice at drawing, of course, and the fact that she is reinforcing her love of graphic novels by creating them herself (albeit with a head start on the story). I think it's safe to say that original graphic novel work is going to follow. (Well, she's already dabbling in that, too.]
Do your kids convert the stories they are reading into other formats? I don't remember doing anything like this as a child, but a) I don't have a very good memory and b) graphic novels weren't a thing at that time. So who can say?
Thanks for reading, and for growing bookworms!