Using Comics To Promote Healthy Reading Habits

Getting kids to read can be a tough prospect. For children, reading is associated with going to school, homework and learning. The last thing they want to do after coming home from school is to start reading again. And the last thing you want to do, as a parent, is ‘fight’ with your child. But in a world dominated by TV, video games and the Internet, you don’t want to be a lazy parent and just give up.

According to Suzanne Stauffer, a professor at Louisiana State University, developing the habit of reading at a young age is critical to forming adult reading practices. Whether your child is reading traditional novels or comic books, both contribute to this essential habit of reading. Comic books are a great way to trick your kids into having fun while reading. As comic books are primarily picture-driven with text only to supplement the action within the pictures, kids are less likely to associate this type of reading with what they are forced to do in school. For reluctant readers, comic books are especially helpful for developing interest in learning to read. A comic does not seem as dense or daunting as a normal book. For boys, comics can be a good arena to find stories with the action they crave and male driven plot lines that they can relate to.

Introducing Your Child To Comics

One key to starting your childs’ reading of comics is not to approach the matter like a chore or piece of homework. Instead of asking your child to “read” the comic, show them how interesting the comic is by looking through it together. Focus your child’s interest on the pictures and plot of the comic instead of asking them to read the words aloud. This will allow your child to engage with the piece without feeling like they are “learning.”

It is likely that your child enjoys watching cartoons, even if you would prefer that they didn’t. There are many crossover characters and story lines from comic books to children’s cartoons that may help you when initially introducing your child to comic books. If your kids are fans of the X-Men, The Incredible Hulk or Spiderman on TV, they are sure to enjoy the comics these characters stemmed from. Marvel offers comic books featuring Spiderman or the Avengers, most of which are suitable to children.

Other Comics for Kids:

  • DC Comics: Like Marvel, DC Comics feature some of the most popular and well-known superhero characters including Batman or the Green Lantern.
  • Archie Comics: For children who are less inclined to enjoy superhero or fantasy type storylines, Archie provides a more realistic portrait of life in the suburbs. These comics may especially appeal to girls who are looking for romantic storylines, as there are mild romantic plots.
  • Disney Comics: Like all parents, I am sure you have been dragged to your fair share of Disney movies. Since 1995 Disney has been producing comic books based upon their most popular characters, which i am sure will appeal to your family’s biggest Disney fan. Luckily for you, the comics comes without the singing.

Before handing your child their new comic, you should be sure to read through to make sure the comic is age-appropriate. Be especially careful when purchasing Marvel or DC Comics, as both of these companies do produce adult comic books featuring their well-known superheros which may not be appropriate for children.

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