My Child Prefers to Read Comics. Is that ok?
With the slew of superhero movies hitting the box office records this year, I expect to see children ditching their storybooks for graphic novels and helpless parents fretting over their children’s literacy downward spiral.
Before you start yanking your hair out, read on!
The good news is that there are benefits from reading comics/graphic novels*.
Comics are becoming more mainstream (or making a resurgence, depending on the era you’re from), however, despite the popularity of graphic novels, certain mind set still dominates the public perception of the literacy value of comics. Comics are often regarded as a form of simplified reading and meant for children who never quite outgrew picture books. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
One of my students had no interest in reading. Her mother was worried and asked for some book recommendations. The usual reading list wasn’t working and she was at her wits end. Initially, she was dubious of my choices, I could tell, from the body language and restrained facial expression, but a week later she came back saying that for the first time her daughter is taking the initiative to hit the library. It’s a good start she acknowledged.
Sometimes children dislike reading because they are impatient. Comics are able to bridge that gap. The graphic gives the reader an immediate connection to the story at a glance and pique their interest at the same time to read how the story pans out. Serialized comics can also be completed in one sitting but they have hooks and cliff hangers to get the readers to pick up the next volume. While it is true that comics alone cannot replace a good book, it does provide a good foundation to get a child interested in elements of a story that can help in the appreciation of a story book.
For parents who are concerned that their children are merely flipping the pages and not actually reading, it would be helpful to point out that the illustrations in the comics are designed to reinforce the words, not replace them. One simply cannot flip the pages and be entertained without reading what the story is about. Comic books have one of the best story plots and character developments. Just look at how these comic-to-movie adaptations are doing at the box office takings. It appeals to a wide range of audience, both to fans and the general audience.
Let us know what you think about comics and if it has worked for you. Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Comics and graphic novels are often used interchangeably due to their similar characteristics. The difference is in the format (Thickness of publication, quality of paper, wholeness of story) that they are published in which has no relevance for the purpose of the discussion in this article.
Written by Eugene Tay, founder of Brain & Butter and Monsters Under the Bed.
When Eugene was a young boy, he wanted to be an astronaut. When that didn't take off, he decided that he was going to be like Indiana Jones and explore the world as an archaeologist. Eventually, he figured out how he can do both. That's when he became a writer.
Co-Written by Grace Chai, mother of a newborn baby boy.
Grace is a new mom and currently undergoing intensive On-The-Job Training for her new role. Between pumping milk, changing diapers and taking selfies with her baby, Grace manages stress by writing about her motherhood experience for ParentTown.