Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type


Terms of Use

© 2015 Emmy Talian. All rights reserved. This work is freely available courtesy of the author. It may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Educational Studies Department, English Literature Department

First Advisor

Diane Downer Anderson

Second Advisor

Peter Schmidt


This thesis examines the how and why of use of graphic texts in the teaching practice of six secondary English teachers. Through a semi-structured interview study, I investigated how they discussed their use of graphic texts, focusing on how they taught the visual portions, why they chose the texts they did, as well as how these texts fit into their larger curriculum. I found that teachers' attention to visual and multimodal potential in graphic texts exists on a spectrum, ranging from a lack of focus to primary focus in the course. Their reasons behind using these texts included the importance of the visual, accessibility, content, and transferability of skills. Teachers articulated the paradox of adherence to and a resistance of hierarchical notions of text and literacy within the classroom. Finally, while most saw the incorporation of graphic novels as a resistance of traditional hierarchies of literature, their use of these texts often reflected hierarchical notions of text forms and literacies, demonstrating the inescapability of hierarchical organization of texts and knowledge of text within the English discipline. However, I ultimately conclude that the inclusion of graphic texts into the curriculum and teachers' practice can result in expanded opportunities for students to engage with a range of texts as well as increase teachers' creativity and intentionality in their teaching.