Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


Recollection (Psychology); Graphic novels; History--Study and teaching (Elementary); Social sciences--Study and teaching (Elementary); Reading comprehension; Children--Books and reading;


The purpose of this study was to examine student recall of facts, along with enjoyment of reading and interest in the topic when using graphic novels as compared to illustrated nonfiction prose in social studies content area reading. Twenty-two fifth grade students (13 f, 9 m) in a public school in a Midwestern state participated in the study. Half of the students read about the Boston Massacre and Patrick Henry through graphic novels and read about Paul Revere and the Boston Tea Party with illustrated nonfiction texts, with the other half doing the opposite. The mean number of correct ideas recalled by students two weeks after reading two books in the graphic novel condition was 8.6 compared to 7.1 for the nonfiction prose condition with a medium effect size. Students in the graphic novel condition recalled more factual topics related to the complex events of the Boston Massacre and Tea party. Students rated their reading enjoyment significantly higher in the graphic novel condition. They also rated their interest in the social studies topics higher after reading graphic novels, but this was not statistically significant. The efficacy of graphic novels shows they should be employed more often into the school curriculum.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Curriculum and Instruction


Division of School Library Studies

Date Original


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