Both parents and teachers know that it can sometimes be a challenge to find ways to inspire their children and students to read. “Each year, I have had a number of students who claim to hate reading,” writes teacher Creed Anthony in a recent article on Brilliant or Insane.
In response to such a statement, our first inclination is to try and seek out materials that are engaging enough to get kids reading, but as Anthony points out, “[t]hese same students spend countless hours playing video games and reading comics — not realizing how much those two activities are actually contributing to their background knowledge, and directly/indirectly their ability as readers.” Instead of trying to find new ways to use materials that children and students may find less than inspirational, Anthony pulls together five reasons that students should be reading comic books!
Comic books, or some refer to them as graphic novels, are an underrated resource for developing literacy. When is the last time you visited a comic book shop? I assure you there is more than meets the eye on the treasured shelves of these stores. In fact, I would argue that it might be the first place that parents take struggling readers. Why? I’ll give you five reasons why students should be reading comics to improve their reading skills.
Anthony goes on to describe how comics invest students in reading because of their high interest, how comics parcel out fiction in more manageable pieces, how their diversity of genres appeals to students, how their sophisticated economy engages reluctant readers, and how comics offer historical context that supports learning.
Whether it be the subject matter, the length of the book, the proportion of text to image, or the sheer variety of books available to children today, comics and graphic novels represent a literary medium that almost seems to transcend what a young child considers conventional — and unappealing — “reading.” Rather, comics and graphic novels “get students invested in their reading — they care more about comprehension because they want to understand the storyline.”
Read more about Creed Anthony’s five reasons here.
None of this is news to CBLDF, of course. We’ve long advocated for the use of comics to encourage kids to read and as classrooms tools. And if you are a teacher or librarian looking for new ways to incorporate comics into your classroom or library, check out the below resources from CBLDF!
- Working With Libraries! A Handbook For Comics Creators
- Comic Book Club Handbook
- Graphic Novels: Suggestions for Librarians
- Adding Graphic Novels to Your Library or Classroom Collection
- Raising a Reader! How Comics & Graphic Novels Can Help Your Kids Love To Read!
- Using Graphic Novels in Education
- CBLDF Discussion Guides