I’ll admit: I didn’t read comics as a kid. Sure, I loved the Sunday funnies in the newspaper, but those were the only comics I knew! I wasn’t introduced to the larger world of graphic novels until college when I read American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang for a class. Ever since then, I’ve been an avid reader of comics.
But did you know comics are more than just fun to read? They also help children become better readers!
10 Benefits of Reading Comics
- Encourage a Love of Reading. “Comic book readers do at least as much reading as non-comic book readers, and the most recent research shows that they read more overall, read more books, and have more positive attitudes toward reading.” -Stephen Krashen, The Power of Reading
- Add Vocabulary. Even though comics have fewer words than a prose-based book, they often have equally, if not more, challenging vocabularies. Children are able to decipher the meanings of unknown vocabulary based on the context of the pictures.
- Increase Inference. When reading a comic, the reader must be able to infer what is happening between each panel.
- Create Confidence. Comics are often recommended for struggling readers because the combination of images with text leads to easier comprehension which creates confidence in reading skills.
- Develop a Sense of Sequence. As with prose books, reading comics develops the ability to keep track of and understand a sequence of events.
- Improve Visual Literacy. Our world is filled with images that have specific meaning tied to them, and reading comics makes a child more familiar and comfortable with understanding these visual clues.
- Different Genres Match Different Interests. There are comics in all different genres: realistic, mysteries, historical, fantasy, and even non-fiction!
- Develop an Appreciation of Art. Have a discussion with your child about the art and its importance in the telling of the story: Why did the artist choose those colors? That style? That shape and size for the panel? The art isn’t there to simplify the work, but rather to clarify.
- Great for Reluctant and Voracious Readers. All readers can become engaged in comics.
- They’re Fun to Read! It’s great to read books to increase literacy skills, but the most important part of reading is to have fun with it. Comics are not meant to be a replacement of any other form of story but simply another medium to enjoy.
For all these reasons above, I believe that YES- Comics DO count as reading! I hope you’ll all join me in supporting comics and the kids that love them. If you’re still not sure what all the fuss is about, try reading some yourself!
Jenna’s favorites for children/ all-ages:
- The Misadventures of Salem Hyde series by Frank Cammuso
- Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loic Dauvillier
- Monster on the Hill by Rob Harrell
- Babymouse series by Jennifer Holm
- Amulet series by Kazu Kibushi
- Hilda series by Luke Pearson
- Oz series by Eric Shanower
- Smile by Raina Telgemeier
- Princeless series by Jeremy Whitley
Jenna’s favorites for teens/ adults:
- Fullmetal Alchemist series by Hiromu Arakawa
- Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol
- Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley
- The Complete Essex County by Jeff Lemire
- March: Book One by John Robert Lewis
- Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
- Ms. Marvel series by G. Willow Wilson
- American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
- “Getting Graphic: Why Comics Are Good for Kids” – Parent Map
- “Super-powered literacy: The benefits of comics in the classroom” –Canadian Council on Learning
- Reading With Pictures
- “Graphic Novels 101: FAQ” –Horn Book
- A Parent’s Guide to the Best Kids’ Comics –Scott Robbins & Snow Wildsmith
- The Power of Reading: Insights from the Research (2nd Edition) –Stephen D. Krashen