I Survived the September 11 Attacks 2011 by Lauren Tarshis full novel study, CLICK HERE for the lesson on TpT.
In recent years, graphic novels have become increasingly popular in classrooms. With their high-interest topics and engaging illustrations, they can be a great way to help students learn critical literacy skills while also exposing them to new and interesting stories. One such graphic novel is I Survived the September 11 Attacks 2011 by Lauren Tarshis. This heart-wrenching story follows protagonist Lucas as he navigates his way through one of the most devastating terrorist attacks in history. Here’s how educators can use this text in their classroom.
Exploring the Historical Context
The events of 9/11 are an integral part of American history, and this story offers a unique perspective on them from a young narrator. By reading this text, students can explore the historical context of 9/11—not only what happened that day, but also how it affected people both physically and emotionally. As students read, have them take notes about Lucas’s experiences and then discuss how they relate to other accounts of 9/11 they may have heard or read before.
Discussing Difficult Topics
This story touches on some difficult topics such as terrorism and loss; however, it does so in a safe, age-appropriate manner. Use this text as an opportunity to talk with your students about these difficult topics in a respectful way that encourages empathy and understanding for those affected by 9/11 as well as those who experience similar tragedies today. You might even consider having your students write reflections or letters expressing their thoughts on these issues after reading the novel.
Using Visual Representations
Because it is a graphic novel, I Survived the September 11 Attacks 2011 provides visual representations of key scenes that can make it easier for readers to understand the events being described in the text. As you read with your class, discuss how these visuals contribute to their understanding of what happened that day and what emotions Lucas might be feeling at different points throughout his journey. Additionally, you might consider having your students create their own visual representations (e.g., drawings or collages) based on key scenes from the novel or other related concepts they are learning about during your unit of study on 9/11.
Focus on Visual Literacy
Graphic novels are unique because they combine text with visuals, so it’s important to focus on visual literacy when teaching this book. Have students look at each page carefully and discuss what symbols, colors, or images stand out to them and why. Encourage them to consider how these visuals contribute to the overall meaning of the story. This will help your students develop their critical thinking skills while also understanding how visuals can be used effectively in stories like this one.
The Power of Visual Learning
Graphic novels are an effective teaching tool because they combine visual learning with storytelling. Students can easily follow along with the story while being presented with imagery that helps them remember key points from the narrative. This is especially helpful when trying to teach complex topics like 9/11, which can be hard to comprehend without some kind of visual aid.
When teaching I Survived the September 11 Attacks, 2011 it’s important to think about how your students will engage with both the visuals and text in this book. Here are some strategies you can use when discussing this graphic novel:
- Ask students questions about what they see in both images and words – For example, “How do Lucas’ emotions change as he experiences different parts of his journey?” or “What new information do we learn from examining each page?”
- Have students draw their own interpretations – Invite your students to create their own illustrations or comic strips based on scenes from I Survived the September 11 Attacks, 2011. This encourages them to think more deeply about what they have read and helps them further visualize what happened that day.
- Discuss current events – Use this graphic novel as an opportunity for your class to discuss issues related to terrorism and national security today. You could even have students create presentations or write essays exploring these topics further if you want them to dive deeper into these conversations.
CLICK HERE for the digital course above.
Create Meaningful Connections
The best way to teach this graphic novel is to make connections between the story and your students’ experiences. Ask your students to think about how they would feel in the situation presented in the book, or how they would respond if they were confronted with similar circumstances. Encourage them to think critically about their own lives and experiences and draw connections between them and what is happening in the story. This will help your students gain a deeper understanding of the material.
Discuss Historical Context
This graphic novel provides an important insight into life during 9/11, so be sure to spend some time discussing relevant historical context with your students before beginning their reading assignment. It’s important that they understand that 9/11 was not just a single event but rather an entire period of history which had lasting impacts on our society today. Providing your students with this context prior to reading will give them a better understanding of what happened during that time period and how it continues to affect us today.
I Survived The September 11 Attacks 2011 is an excellent resource for teaching difficult topics such as terrorism and loss while also helping students develop important literacy skills like close reading and critical thinking. Not only does it provide an engaging narrative with vivid visuals; it also gives readers insight into how one child experienced one of America’s darkest days firsthand. Furthermore, its accessible language makes it suitable for teaching students grades 4-7–offering educators everywhere an invaluable resource for discussing some of our nation’s most harrowing moments with young learners safely and respectfully.