When school is not in session, libraries are flooded with children and families looking for engaging activities to occupy their time, which is great! Because if students aren’t reading and participating in learning activities over the summer, they can lose a lot of the progress they made in the previous school year, which teachers and other educational professionals refer to as “summer slide.”
What’s great about informal learning outside the classroom is that children are free to pursue their own interests and select their own books! A whopping 92% of children say they are more likely to finish a book they pick out themselves versus one an adult forces them to read.
I love helping children select books they’re excited to read, and delight in finding them titles based on their own interests and reading tastes. However, without fail, I will encounter parents who are not allowing their children to read graphic novels, or are telling kids these “don’t count.”
Well, I am here to tell you 100% that YES, comics and graphic novels count as reading too! While these types of books have graphic images to supplement the words, there are still words to be read to understand and follow the story. So, to help you understand why graphic novels and comics are a great way for anyone to increase their vocab and reading skills, here is a list of what makes them a great thing to read!
- Often times, graphic novels contain higher level vocabulary words than print-only books for readers in the same age range and are great for introducing children to new words.
- Graphic novels are great for visual learners. They force readers to actively engage with the text to decipher the interplay between text and images and to decode the differences in text format that signal it as narration or dialogue. Readers must interpret the facial expression of characters and body language instead of reading descriptions in the text that explain their moods and tone.
- Graphic novels offer the opportunity to learn important reading skills, like inference. “Reading between the lines” of a text is often a tricky task, but readers who have experience with interpreting a story based on texts and images are actively developing this important skill.
- Modern literacy means being fluent in a range of mediums, including the interpretation of images. Graphic novels prepare readers to comprehend a range of multimedia messages, which increasingly dominate our culture.
- Graphic novels are also a great resource for children interested in art and design. Aspiring artists are exposed to the wide range of styles of the illustrations in graphic novels. Layout and formatting of graphic novels can teach teens good design skills and how the way the story is presented is integral to a reader’s understanding and enjoyment of it.