Reading Graphic Novels in School: texts, contexts and the ‘work’ of critical reading

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This paper uses the example of an extra-curricular Graphic Novel Reading Group in order to explore the institutional critical reading practices that take place in English classrooms in the senior years of secondary school. Drawing on Stanley Fish’s theory of interpretive communities, it questions the restrictive interpretive strategies applied to literary texts in curriculum English. By looking closely at the interpretive
strategies pupils apply to a different kind of text (graphic novels) in an alternative context (an extra-curricular space), the paper suggests that there may be other ways of engaging with text that pupils find less alienating, more pleasurable and less reminiscent of ‘work’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-210
Number of pages20
JournalPedagogy, Culture and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2012


  • graphic novels
  • critical reading
  • interpretive communities
  • extra-curricular space
  • secondary English teaching
  • Stanley Fish


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