New Graphic Novels Bring Smiles to Chapelwood Elementary

May 2024

Reading provides an endless host of benefits: it expands background knowledge, builds a more robust vocabulary, and can improve focus and concentration. Helping students work on this vital skill is an ongoing challenge for educators – and it’s one that Chapelwood Elementary fifth grade writing teacher Kourtney Liggett embraces with enthusiasm.

“In my classroom, Marvel Comics is everything,” said Ms. Liggett. “My classroom is decorated with all things superhero! When I teach, I also like to center many writing lessons around Marvel. Not only does it make students more interested in the lesson, but it makes it more fun for me!”

Ms. Liggett’s goal is to provide her students with as many resources as possible to engage them in reading.

“Having a variety of reading materials is important because our classrooms have a variety of students,” she said. “I try to keep my library as diverse and inclusive as I can. I also like to provide opportunities for students to read for a multitude of reasons. Those reasons may vary from retrieving information, committing to a literary journey, or just for plain old fun. A variety of books allows students to do all of those things.”

A prime resource for engaging her fifth grade students in reading, Ms. Liggett came to realize, was the graphic novel. Graphic novels are similar to comic books in that they combine a lot of pictures with their stories. However, graphic novels contain a beginning, middle and end in one book, whereas comic books tell stories in parts that continue on to another issue.

Because she didn’t have the funds to order a significant variety of graphic novels for her students, Ms. Liggett sought funding for the books. The Wayne Township Education Foundation and DonorsChoose provided that funding, and Ms. Liggett’s students are now reaping the benefits of an engaging assortment of graphic novels.

“My students absolutely love the graphic novels!” Ms. Liggett said. “They are very popular, especially after testing. They are not as time consuming as a traditional novel, but they are great stories that they can fully complete in a limited time span. They’re also great for fifth graders because we are departmentalized. That means these books get used not just by a traditional 25 to 30 student class, but they are able to service the more than 130 fifth graders who enter my classroom daily.”

Ms. Liggett said outside funding was critical for her to be able to purchase the novels.

“I wouldn’t have been able to provide these graphic novels without the help of the Wayne Township Education Foundation or DonorsChoose! Their funding is so important, especially when it comes to books. When you think about a project that can maximize the impact it can have on students, funding books for classrooms is that project. These books last years, and already in just one year have impacted the lives of over 130 students in my classroom. In four years that number will go over 500. Having an impact on that many children through the Wayne Township Education Foundation donation for just this one project, is incredible!”

The Wayne Township Education Foundation (WTEF) provides community leadership to enrich, engage, and stimulate teaching and learning in the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township. WTEF accomplishes this by supporting school programs and resources, while recognizing excellence among students and staff. To learn more about WTEF, call 317-988-7966, visit, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter @WayneTwpEdFound.