More Powerful than a Locomotive: Using Graphic Novels to Motivate Struggling Male Adolescent Readers

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Although the popularity of graphic novels is growing by leaps and bounds, there is currently little empirical research documenting their use with struggling male adolescent readers. The purpose of this article is to present the results of a study that examined the ways in which four struggling eighth-grade male readers responded to graphic novels during a graphic novel book club. During the twelve book club sessions, the students read self-selected graphic novels and discussed them with their peers. Findings from the study support the use of graphic novels with struggling male adolescent readers. Results from the Adolescent Motivation to Read Profile (AMRP) revealed significant improvement in the students’ value of reading and moderate improvement in their self-concept as a reader. Furthermore, the participants’ responses to graphic novels indicated that reading graphic novels improved their reading engagement and had a positive effect on their reading motivation.