Genres Justified.


Poetry enables children to strengthen their:

  • Cognitive development
    • Through rhymes and poems, children understand that words exist with similar sounds but totally different meanings
    • Learn what a pattern is, and become capable of recognizing patterns
      • Understand through patterns what a sequence is
    • Have fun memorizing rhymes, thus practicing their memory both linked to audio and visual events
      • Memory, patterns, and sequences are helpful for approaching math and new languages
    • social/emotional development
      • Rhymes encourage kids’ sense of humor
      • Sharing rhymes with family creates a space for inside jokes and bonding, and for an emotional attachment to the stories with parents
      • If children feel lonely, they can remember sharing the rhymes with their parents and feel cherished
    • language development
      • Rhyme makes it easier to learn new words.
      • Rythmical structure of stanzas creates a familiar context for unfamiliar words.
      • Reading poetry out loud is good practice with pitch, voice inflection, and volume
      • Level of coordination required to master all the variables of voice is extremely complex (even if it doesn’t seem like it to adults!)
      • physical development
        • Breath coordination and tongue and mouth movements are made easier by the musical structure of the rhyme
        • Rhymes help you understand when you need to breath and for how long without needing an explanation
        • This physical awareness can be applied to prose as kids get older


“Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if children know eight
nursery rhymes by heart by the time they’re four years old, they’re usually among the
best readers by the time they’re eight.”

“Poetry provides a relaxed and pleasant way for students to practice language skills”

“Phonemic Awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and use the individual sounds or phonemes in spoken words.”

“Helping children understand rhyming is one key skill of phonemic awareness” (Block & Israel, 2005)

“Working with teachers in sharing poetry across the curriculum have shown us that students need to practice developing their oral fluency and that they find poetry a particularly unintimidating and fun way to do it “

(Hadaway, Vardell & Young, 2001)



According to Josh Elder, the President and founder of Reading With Pictures, sums up the strengths of comics as educational tools with the “Three E’s of Comics”:

  • Engagement
    • Impart meaning through the reader’s active engagement with written language and juxtaposed sequential images
    • Readers have to actively make meaning from the combination of text and images, and additionally fill in the gaps between panels
  • Efficiency
    • Convey large amounts of meaning in a short time
  • Effectiveness
    • Processing both images and texts leads to better recall and transfer of learning
    • Neurological experiments show that we process text and images in different parts of the brain which is known as The Dual-Coding Theory of Cognition
    • Pairing texts with images leads to increased memory retention for both

Comics make connections between abstract images and language

  • Sequential art provides plenty of opportunity for connecting a story to children’s own experiences, predicting what will happen, inferring what happens between panels and summarizing, just as you would do with a text story

When kids have the joy of reading exciting, complex, and compelling stories, they are motivated to read more, and graphic novels are great steppingstones

This is also great for emergent bilinguals because they can practice high level comprehension skills even at a lower text reading level

Requires synthesis and making inferences (higher level thinking)

“It always strikes me as supremely odd that high culture venerates the written word on the one hand, and the fine visual arts on the other. Yet somehow putting the two together is dismissed as juvenilia. Why is that? Why can’t these forms of art go together like music and dance?” —Jonathan Hennessey, Author of The U.S. Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation and The Gettysburg Address: A Graphic Adaptation


Historical Fiction

  • Students enjoy it far more than textbooks
  • They can be especially captivated by stories that give them the chance to imagine taking part in the events of the past, or to explore how people responded to dramatic circumstances such as those involving fear, discrimination, or tragedy
  • Encourages a search of meaning in the past
  • Can be immensely relatable
  • Good tool for not only literacy, but for social studies
    • Can be used as a “perspective” to compare to other ways of presenting factual information
  • Encouraged to think beyond thinking of the past as one thing after the other (should look for patterns and sequences, for causes and consequences, for agents and their motivations
  • Teaches what social, political, and economic forces enabled or constrained the choices of characters and how the characters addressed their problems
  • Text to self connections
  • Helps teach diversity-students need to be aware of the experiences of multiple groups of people and how different stories could be told about them


  • Pushing boundaries, exploring new territory, and doing something that borders on “naughty” is fulfilling
  • Through exploration of the dark side of humanity, kids become more self literate (strengths, weaknesses, etc)
    • Can potentially become more empowered because of it
  • So many life lessons to be learned, can give you a healthy sense of paranoia
    • Especially horror or thriller based in realistic scary scenarios, provides examples of good and bad solutions!
    • Can learn from the characters’ responses
  • Horror stories create a broader knowledge of literature and its history
    • Kids will inevitably question things and where they come from, and curiosity is a prime foundation for learning!
  • Reading horror is reassuring if it’s truly fiction
    • Put the book down and the exhilarating adventure is done with and you are safe in your own world
    • Can make kids grateful for their world

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