Graphic Novels Are an Important Resource for Parents of Reluctant Readers
Encourage a love of reading in your child by helping them find the right format.
Helping children enjoy and excel in reading can significantly impact their life outside the classroom. Reading is good for cognitive development and improves overall intelligence. Reading also affects emotional well-being through the ability to recall information, helping to stabilize emotions and lower stress. Overall, children who learn to read well build a broader vocabulary, learn more about the world around them, and are more likely to understand complex concepts.
Studies show over 50 percent of children read less than fifteen minutes daily, and many students grow up without reaching their expected reading level by the time they graduate high school. While many factors contribute to these statistics, one approach parents and teachers can take is to find ways to engage reluctant readers with alternative reading materials.
Reluctant readers are students who do not show interest in reading. Low interest in reading may be expressed through actively avoiding reading or frustration with any reading activity. Often, students who struggle with reading are reluctant readers. Forcing students to read material that frustrates them will only exacerbate their reluctance. Finding strategies to help reluctant readers enjoy reading is critical for reading success.
How to Help Reluctant Readers
Some helpful ways to encourage reading in students include reading for fun versus reading for “work.” Giving students the power of choice regarding reading material will empower them to feel in control of the situation. Allowing students to choose materials that fall outside of typical classroom or curriculum requirements, such as magazines, graphic novels, recipe books, or other materials, encourages students’ interest in reading.
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Research surrounding the processing of images and text supports the importance of graphic novels in helping reluctant readers. A graphic novel is not a genre but a format similar to comic books using sequential art combined with text to tell a story. The stand-alone nature of a graphic novel versus excerpts of narratives is a significant difference between comics and graphic novels. Graphic novels usually have complex storylines.
The visual nature of a graphic novel helps struggling readers understand a story through cues other than words. For example, if a student comes across vocabulary words they do not understand or challenging twists in the storyline, detailed illustrations offer contextual cues to help figure out what is happening in the story.
Graphic novels help reluctant readers better understand story concepts through words and pictures. They are engaging because the combination of pictures and text helps students enjoy high-quality reading materials, building confidence and reading habits. Parents of reluctant readers can use free library resources to introduce their children to graphic novels and other alternative reading materials.
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