“Words and pictures are yin and yang. Married, they produce a progeny more interesting than either parent.”
If one of your new year’s resolutions is encouraging your children to read more, then you should revisit comic books as a way to get them hooked on reading.
Far from being a mindless mass of lurid pictures, research has shown that comic books can encourage a love of stories and stimulate reading skills in otherwise reluctant readers. Perhaps most important, though, is that children are more likely to continue to read as they grow up if they see reading as enjoyable – and what could be better than a comic to achieve this?
Comic books and graphic novels combine text and images in a unique way, are fast-paced and easy to follow. In this they are ideal for beginners or reluctant readers. Rather than an overwhelming page of text, comics typically provide short sentences and visual clues that help illustrate meaning.
Comic books therefore:
- bridge the gap between beginner picture books and text-only books.
- are less intimidating than a text-only book, and build confidence in early readers.
- broaden vocabulary.
- teach visual literacy, as children need to decipher story clues through both text and image. This is an essential skill in today’s digital world.
“I don’t remember when exactly I read my first comic book, but I do remember exactly how liberated and subversive I felt as a result.” Edward W. Said
We have some great suggestions to get your children hooked on comic books and graphic novels, and of course on the joys of reading as a great side effect.
The Adventures of Tintin are a classic, and a must be on every children’s bookshelf. Children will love following Tintin and Snowy on their adventures around the world, and Hergè’s unique visual style is as fresh now as ever. Its also Tintin’s 87th birthday this month, which deserves to be celebrated.
The Adventures of Asterix and Obelix are fun filled and fast paced, and the wonderful use of puns across all languages are sure to stimulate a love of words. You can read more about the intricacies of translating these books into different languages here.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid with its confessional stories and funny illustrations will engage more confident readers. My daughter is also devouring the 13-storey tree-house at the moment, and your 6 to 10 year old is sure to love it.
We believe that reading should be encouraged at all times, and that comic books and graphic novels might just be the gateway drug that gets your child hooked on reading for life. So stock up, sit back and enjoy the silence.