"Get Graphic" is the name of our public library system's promotional campaign to use graphic novels to reach struggling readers. I started teaching Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and my students (grades 6, 7, and yes even 8) LOVE it. Greg Heffley is the protagonist in Kinney's series - funny, annoying, exasperating, honest. I highly recommend the Do-it-Yourself book - such an accessible, easy way for students who "hate" to read/write to start their own journal and, in my opinion, claim their human right to use language to assert their humanity. OK, I just mean students NEED to grow confidence as readers and writers.
Next, we'll read The Arrival by Shaun Tan - a wordless graphic novel mixing fantasy and symbolism into an immigration story. The art is stunning, breathtaking. You MUST read it. My students don't have much background knowledge about immigration, so I'll probably use an easy connection like the movie "An American Tail" to introduce immigration themes.
Ultimately, my goal is a graphic family history project, in which students will interview a family member about an important event or person and then write a graphic narrative. I'm going to build in some easy drawing lessons with help from the art teachers. Well, that's the plan!