A lot of people think that comic books and graphic novels aren’t “real” books because they contain more pictures than words. They don’t follow the traditional chapter book format with paragraphs of text. But these stories can actually be very beneficial for students in boosting their reading and comprehension skills. In celebration of National Comic Book Day, we’re taking a closer look at the benefits of allowing kids to read comic books.

They get kids excited to read. Flipping through a book that is nothing but text can be off-putting, but knowing there are plenty of pictures to look at can be more appealing. A lot of kids like reading about superheroes and following along with the character’s journey. Giving them the option to read a comic book or graphic novel that they can finish in a day or two versus the time it takes them to read a traditional chapter book can be motivating.

They come in many different genres. Not every comic book or graphic novel is about superheroes. They can be about history, nature, science, literature, and even math. Sometimes classic stories are rewritten as graphic novels to capture students’ attention and present information in an easier to understand way. There can be a lot of educational material packed into a story, and students don’t even realize they’re learning while they read.

They can boost reading confidence. Picking up a book that is filled with text can be overwhelming. Some students have a tendency to skim over long paragraphs or rush through just to finish. But comic books use short sentences and a limited number of words on a page. Students have to read each one to make sense of what is happening. And just because the sentences are short doesn’t necessarily mean they use simple words. Kids can be exposed to a wide range of vocabulary in comic books.

They challenge comprehension. Comic books and graphic novels require a lot of interpretation, inference, and synthesizing of information. Since there is not a lot of text, students have to fill in the details based on what they have read and what each picture shows. Chapter books spend a lot of time explaining through writing, whereas graphic novels require students to use critical thinking and context clues. It challenges their brain in a different way.

They can inspire creativity. Students can boost their writing skills as well by trying their hand at creating their own comic book. They must use the same basic story elements as a novel including characters, setting, a problem, and a resolution, but they are expressing it in fewer words and including pictures to fill in the details.

Comic books can be a great way to inspire a love of reading in boys and girls alike. Once they find a subject that interests them, they may be more willing to pick up a fiction or nonfiction chapter book to expand their knowledge. Students have a lot of required reading in school, so make reading at home fun by letting them choose texts that interest them – including comic books!

If your child is struggling with their reading, comprehension, or writing skills, contact Crafting Scholars to see how our learning specialists can help. Get your child excited about reading and keep that interest growing by giving them the support they need to be more successful.