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Dissertation by Heidi Kay Hammond at University of Minnesota.
To determine how students make meaning of and respond to a graphic novel, 23 twelfth grade students in a political science class read American Born Chinese twice. This study employed qualitative methods based on reader-response theory. Types of data collected included oral and written responses of students, student reading questionnaires, teacher and student interviews, observations as recorded in researcher field notes, and student created comics. Responses were coded through a process of reduction and interpretation. Results indicated that reading a graphic novel was a new experience for the majority of participants and they enjoyed the book. With the introduction of comics conventions and further development of multimodal literacy skills, students acquired new knowledge on a second reading of the book. Evidence from this study supports the benefits of teaching comics conventions and reading graphic novels as part of the curriculum to improve multimodal literacy skills.