Several yeas ago, I was commissioned by the local UNESCO office to write a series of booklets dealing with social issues aimed at adult new readers. Since there is often differing levels of reading competence, I tried several ways of making the material available.One such was to split the facing pages with captioned illustrations, comic style, on the left and the story text on the right.
Sharon's Song, one of the booklets, used this technique. The story told of a family- father mother son and daughter. The father would hold regular drinking sessions at home with his friends on weekends and command his son to clean up the mess. The teen began to drain the bottles of rum and eventually became alcoholic. In search of liquor one night, he is gunned down. The family falls apart. The mother becomes crazy, the daughter wild and into drugs. The father, aware now of how his behaviour affected his son, tries to put his family back together, He seeks counselling and assistance.
Here are two sample pages
The theme for all the stories was that was that although things might fall apart, there is help for those who seek it.
Sharon's Song should have had a cd to accompany it, as the story is told in what could be the lyrics of a song - soca and reggae style for the different sections.(In the illustrations, the storyteller is actually a singer with accompanying band.) This would also enable the reader to follow the text. Unfortunately, that part of the exercise fell through. I am aware that the text should have had a more reader friendly layout.
However, I am wondering if that presentation, comic version on one side and accompanying text on the others would entice reluctant readers. It would be interesting to try this for the hi/low readers I am compiling and evaluate the results as a project.