The recent discussion about how to Keep Boys Reading, spurred a thought in my mind about how to lure lapsed or reluctant readers back into reading. Lapsing out of reading can happen to any child, even advanced readers. Just because they can read ahead of their grade, doesn’t mean they will.
I’m convinced that finding the perfect book, maybe even reading it together for the younger ones (or the older ones – you might be surprised!), is the ticket. But the recent success of the Wimpy Kid books illustrates the power of art (er, even the stick figure variety) to draw kids into a book.
Duh. Comic books publishers have known this for a long, long time.
Now the comic books of yore have grown up and gone all uber-cool, transforming themselves into Graphic Novels.
Here at Ink Spells, we’re looking for high reading level books (or challenging in some way), but with low levels of graphic sex/violence/other inappropriate material for the Wee Ones. In some ways Graphic Novels are the opposite this, with their low reading levels and, well, graphic visuals.
I don’t advocate a steady diet of Graphic Novels as the preferred literary fare. BUT. If a reluctant reader can be drawn back into reading by those lush, vibrant pictures on glossy paper, I say give it a try. Especially if it tempts your reluctant reader toward a more satisfying meal of literary excellence.
I stumbled across a fabulous blog about using high quality comic literature in the classroom by savvy teacher, Mr. Wilson. AND he’s categorized his Graphic Novels by age, aiding parents in finding one that maybe has pictures that won’t make your eyes pop out of your head.
RL: 3.0 CSM: n/a Rating: PG-13 Content: Blood, implied sexuality
King Arthur and the Nights of the Roundtable, the Graphic Novel version, was sparse on the words, and low on the reading level, and there was some blood in the battles, but they weren’t horrifically graphic. And there was that scene where King Pelles tricks Sir Lancelot into marrying his daughter, so they could begat the noble Sir Galahad. But, it was pretty much left to the imagination. The thing that struck me about the ultra-abbreviated, all-Camelot-tales-in-one-slim-book approach was how much it left me yearning for more: more story, more details, more of the drama that was missing in the short read. Getting a taste of great stories like this, can be an effective way to bring your reluctant reader back to the full fledged books with the tiny print.
It comes back to a basic principal: encourage your child to read, read, read, from the cereal box to the comic strips. And an occasional foray into Graphic Novels.
Just take a quick look through them first.