Thursday, March 08, 2007

Graphic Novels as Reading Tools

A lot of adults try to encourage their young people (children, nieces, students) to read recreationally, but meet with little success. Graphic novels, comic books, etc. are often a great way to get young folks excited about reading on their own since they're naturally attracted to the imagery. To fully understand the story, though, they need to read the dialogue and captions.

They say knowledge is power and a lot of knowledge is buried in printed text. Becoming comfortable with and more adept at reading, practice helps. A strong working vocabulary is invaluable, as well.

There are graphic novels and comic books available for all reading levels (and levels of maturity) from very young children to grown-ups like you and me. I've been reading them most of my life and there's no doubt that they familiarized me with words I might not have encountered, otherwise.

Of course, the price of comic books and graphic novels have increased over the years, just like most things. However, your local library may be a great resource for free material.

Manga is very popular with this generation, so that may be a good place to start. The picture, below, shows a good chunk of the graphic novels available at one of the libraries where I live. The manga selection is huge.

We all know how important literacy is, but not everyone is aware of the FREE availability of graphic novels and comic book material (often in hardcovers and trade paperbacks) at their local libraries. I thought it might be worthwhile to devote a post to the subject.


Xiasuko said...

I think graphic novels are a great segue to novels. I remember being a kid and not being too impressed with the more grown-up books because they didn't have any pictures. Young children spend most of their lives enjoying books full of pictures, those pictures are often key to the children grasping concepts and associations. To have those same children mature and then try to lead them away from those images to books that are completely devoid of them can be too much to ask. I think graphic novels would help with this transition. Many graphic novels deal with subjects that cater to older children, but still provide illustrations. You can deepen their learning in a medium they can relate to, yet still prepare them for adult literature.

My teenage sister really digs manga. I think that's due in part because it satisfied her when summer reading lists and English assignments did not. She also loves manga because it fuels another passion of hers...drawing.

I think the mistake a lot of parents make is trying to shy their kids away from interests because they don't see the value in them.

I'm gonna cut this comment short--I probably should have posted about this--Good Grief! I didn't plan on being this long-winded.

West said...

No worries, Xiasuko.

That's actually how I see things, as well, except you said it better.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I don't remember reading a lot of graphic novels as a kid. I read the mess out of some R.L. Stein books, tho. They used to scare the crap outta me. I wonder if he still writes books?

Anyways, I definitely think this subject deserves a dedicated post. I don't remember the last time I went to a library for recreational reading. I'm inspired. I might grab a graphic novel for myself.

Anonymous said...

My son absolutely loves the Bleach graphic novels and all things Japanese. I could never get into them.

West said...

b. good: Glad to hear it. Enjoy!

chele: I'm pretty ignorant of manga and anime, of today, although there are a couple of products I dig.