It’s Free Comic Book Day tomorrow!! Do you know why comics are great for kids?
You might think I’m crazy, because I keep reminding everyone. So why is this so important to me? My husband and I love to read. So do my kids. However, it wasn’t always that way.
My oldest daughter hated to read. She did love to write and to draw but hated to read. I detested the “your child must read for 20 minutes a day and log what they read” in school. My personal opinion is that is not a way to make kids learn to love reading. It is a great way to start homework battles. Never mind that just because a child can read the words it doesn’t mean they are comprehending, using visual cues, or able to infer. All really, really important ask any teacher.
We tried all sorts of genres. “You just need to find something she likes.” Books on fairies, on mystery, on horses, the list goes on and on. She was even in a reading pullout group in early elementary to “move things forward.” Fast-forward to today, she is in Accelerated Language Arts and does phenomenal!
OK, so what does this have to do with Free Comic Book Day? Well, it became the turning point in my daughter’s path to becoming a true reader. We heard about free comic day at Cave Comics in Newtown, CT. My oldest daughter would have been about around 9. That was the key to opening her up to the world of reading. My younger daughter discovered them when she was 5 (She was along for the ride. Her story is much different. She actually gets in trouble because she won’t stop reading!)
So what makes comics a great entry to reading for many kids?
- They generally are fun and range over a bunch of topics. Including there are several cartoons that are derived from comic books.
- Comics have built in context clues. The children learn to look at the pictures along with the speech bubbles to figure out context.
- They offer the same elements as narrative stories – characters, plot, setting, conflict, resolution, point of view, etc…
- Inference! There is not enough space to write all the details in a comic. There is short dialogue and the visual elements. Readers must infer using these elements to connect the dots. This is a very advance reading tool especially for a young reader.
- Visual, let’s face it our children live in a world of electronics (from TV to Apps) which means sequencing of visual messages. So the format of comics just simply makes sense to kids. The words are chunked, short, and with the visual elements to add to the context.
- Variety. Children and Adults should have a varied reading diet. Comics are great for that.
So, if for no other reason then for the love of reading, I encourage you check out Free Comic Book Day. You can find a store near you on the Free Comic Book site http://bit.ly/1OgW8BL. Happy Reading!