Could a simple comic be the gateway to reading for your child? New research from YouGov for Readly* suggests that parents and grandparents who introduce comics to children or grandchildren believe the main benefit is in creating a habit and love of reading.
Almost half the adults polled reported reading comics themselves as children, with 11 percent still reading them today. And nearly three in four said that comics play a key role in reading enthusiasm and aptitude. Research by The National Literacy Trust shows that having opportunities to read digitally could be particularly effective for reluctant readers.
Child development expert Dr Jacqueline Harding is a senior lecturer at Middlesex University, director of Tomorrowschild and former BBC education editor and head teacher. She says: ‘Children who read graphic novels and short form content are more likely to foster a love of reading. It helps to create a healthy reading habit, provides exposure and drives confidence for reading. The illustrations help to deepen the narrative and reveal important social and cultural cues.’
Dr Harding’s tips for sharing comics with children are:
Immerse children in the illustrations
Encourage young children to ‘lose themselves’ in the illustrations – the meaning extracted from pictures all helps make sense of the text, and they are a crucial part of the storytelling process.
The digital appeal
Children were born into the digital world, they learn with it in school, and they see it used every day. So it’s not surprising that reading online is attractive. Bite size text, accompanied by illustrations, humour and characters who are like them combine to make it an enthralling experience. Support children to move seamlessly between digital and print formats by offering them content that is personalised and interesting to them.
Relax into reading
Dial down any stress involved in ‘learning to read’ and offer fun material that children can relate to. A sense of relaxation is key to the experience of learning to decipher those squiggles on the page. It must not be a process to be feared. Children tend to like characters who are inspirational – ones they can aspire to be like.
Inspire kids with Comics
Fun and imagination motivate learning. Kids who read graphic novels and short form content gain confidence in reading and are more likely to become lifelong readers.
Get involved too!
Dive into the reading space with your kids whether it’s on or offline. Enjoy the experience together – this communicates that reading is a fun thing to do. Bring reading to life by carrying on the experience in the real world – perhaps by getting creative using storylines and characters that inspire your child.
*Readly are a European leader in digital magazine and newspaper subscriptions. They offer 6,300 magazines and newspapers for the whole family on their app, including over 80 Disney titles. Subscription is £9.99 per month for unlimited reading.