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Lesson Plan

Pictures Tell the Story: Improving Comprehension With Persepolis

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Pictures Tell the Story: Improving Comprehension With Persepolis

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 40-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Janet M. Ankiel

Basking Ridge, New Jersey


International Literacy Association



From Theory to Practice



Graphic novels, which tell real and fictional stories using a combination of words and images, are often sophisticated and involve new and intriguing topics. In this lesson, students examine the art and craft of the graphic novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi and assess the impact of visual elements on their comprehension of the beginning of the story. The goal of the lesson is to get students started so that they can successfully read and analyze the rest of the book. They will also explore the recent history of the Middle East as presented by Satrapi.

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Schwarz, G.E. (2002). Graphic novels for multiple literacies. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 46, 262Ė265.

  • The current generation of children has encountered and will continue to view more images than any previous generation. Graphic novels are a fine vehicle for helping them to develop as discerning visual consumers.

  • By providing direct instruction on the art and craft of the graphic novel, students develop an appreciation for how visual elements such as color, perspective, and point of view manipulate the viewer's emotions and influence their comprehension of various subjects.

  • Graphic novels embrace many tenets of postmodernism including the melding of highbrow and lowbrow culture, the blending of genres, and the use of diverse voices, and thus offer fresh perspectives in a newly accessible form.


Blasingame, J. (2006). Reviews: Books for adolescents. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 49, 442Ė451.

Jeff Smith, the author of the Bone graphic novel series, defends graphic novels saying that the genre requires the same discipline, skill, and commitment to literary tradition as other types of texts. According to Smith, teachers and parents can and should feel comfortable embracing this form.

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