At my library, I am just beginning the work to pull out our graphic novels from within the fiction and non-fiction sections and move them into their own juvenile graphic novel area. To help encourage patrons to utilize this collection, I created a handout. On one side is a list of the benefits of reading comics, and on the other side is a recommended booklist:
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.
Recommended Graphic Novels
Grade Level: 2-3
Holm, Jennnifer & Matthew. Babymouse series.
Krosoczka, Jarrett J. Lunch Lady series.
Runton, Andy. Owly series.
Spires, Ashley. Binky the Space Cat series.
Grade Level: 4-5
Azuma, Kiyohiko. Yotsuba&! series.
Hatke, Ben. Zita the Spacegirl series.
Santat, Dan. Sidekicks.
Siegel, Siena & Mark. To Dance: A Ballerina’s Graphic Novel.
Varon, Sara. Robot Dreams.
Grade Level: 6-8
Kibuishi, Kazu. Amulet series.
O’Connor, George. Olympians series.
Smith, Jeff. Bone series.
Phelan, Matt. The Storm in the Barn.
Telgemeier, Raina. Smile.
“Getting Graphic: Why Comics Are Good for Kids” – Parent Map http://www.parentmap.com/article/comic-books-get-kids-reading
“Super-powered literacy: The benefits of comics in the classroom” –Canadian Council on Learning http://www.ccl-cca.ca/ccl/Newsroom/Releases/20100721Comics.html
Reading With Pictures http://www.readingwithpictures.org
“Comic Book Research & Resources” –ABDO Publishers http://www.abdopub.com/shop/pc/viewcontent.asp?idpage=97
“Graphic Novels 101: FAQ” –Horn Book http://archive.hbook.com/magazine/articles/2006/mar06_brenner.asp
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