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This article explores how eighth-grade students in a reading support class responded to the novel The Outsiders with the software program Comic Life. Rather than viewing this work from a new technologies or digital literacies perspective, we argue that unique insights can be gained by analyzing students’ digital compositions with lenses attuned to the arts, the aesthetic transaction, and student perspectives. In our presentation of four case studies, we are informed by two conceptualizations of aesthetics. First, we consider the aesthetic qualities of students' comics by analyzing the presence and impact of image selection, color choice, and overall design on the meaning students make in their comics. Second, we draw from Rosenblatt's discussion of the aesthetic transaction in both reading and writing as rooted in the senses, in perception, and within the students’ social worlds.We found that students worked within and across personal experiences, semiotic systems, and popular cultural texts in ways that reflected and often enriched their literary understanding. This article highlights how deliberate inquiry into students’ creative processes, products, and perspectives can provide insight into the potential of the digital arts to support meaning making and the aesthetic transaction.


Publisher Acknowledgment:

This is the Publisher’s PDF of the following article made available by National Council of Teachers of English © 2014: Wissman, K. K. & *Costello, S. (2014). Creating digital comics in response to literature: Linking the arts, aesthetic transactions, and meaning-making. Language Arts, 92(2), 103-117.



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