How do graphic novels help make reading fun for reluctant readers?
Is making reading fun for your child a challenge? If your child loves stories, but associates reading exclusively with homework, graphic novels can give them access to storylines that would otherwise be locked behind a wall of print.
What is a graphic novel?
Graphic novels are full-length works of literature presented in a comic strip format. Unlike comic strips, which present brief snippets of story or jokes, graphic novels now encompass every genre of literature, including biographies, fiction, non-fiction, fantasy, and more. Did you know that the classic Babysitters Club series now comes in graphic novel format? So do major works of literature like To Kill A Mockingbird, Anne of Green Gables, The Giver, The Great Gatsby, and The Aeneid, to name just a few. For younger readers, offerings include the Magic Tree House series and the Hobbit. Graphic novels have become extremely popular in recent years for both children and adults. For this reason, many libraries and bookstores now have dedicated sections for these kinds of books.
Graphic novels make reading fun, but what will my child learn?
At YokyWorks, we see a lot of students whose reading level confines them to simpler stories, but they still have the capacity to understand and enjoy complex narratives and characters. Far from being unchallenging, graphic novels provide intellectual stimulation and facilitate skill-building that can support all kinds of reading. As researcher Gretchen Schwartz articulates, “To read and interpret graphic novels, students have to pay attention to the usual literary elements of character, plot, and dialogue, and they also have to consider visual elements such as color, shading, panel layout, perspective, and even the lettering style.” Students can practice making inferences about a story by looking for clues in the images, character expressions, and artistic style. They have to put these clues together in order to understand the story, thereby utilizing the same skills they would be using to understand a regular novel.
How do I find appropriate graphic novels for my child?
Graphic novels can be both entertaining and educational, but it is also important to find one that is appropriate for your child. Fortunately, there are graphic novels out there that cover a wide range of age-appropriate subject matter, and many popular novels, movies, and stories for kids now have graphic novel counterparts-for example : Percy Jackson, Marvel, Minecraft, and Frozen. Because many adult graphic novels contain mature content, you may want to restrict your search to graphic novels found in the children's section. When in doubt, your local booksellers and librarians can help you select graphic novels that are age-appropriate for your child, so that they can start reading--for fun!
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