This is why comic books are awesome for kids

by Parent Co. April 03, 2015

WE'RE CELEBRATING COMIC BOOKS for kids (and grownups) this month at Parent Co! We’re interviewing prominent comic book writers and illustrators. We'll show you how your kids can make their own print and digital comics at home and in school. We’ll recommend great comic book titles. And we have some awesome contests and giveaways for indie comics and comic-inspired tee shirts. Follow the latest updates here. Reading and making comic books is an enriching experience for kids. They: - increase inference: Claudia McVicker, Ph.D., professor of language and literacy at the Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, studied how comics boost inference skills for elementary-school readers. Inference is critical to comprehension. - sharpen reading skills: Several studies show that comic book readers read above grade level. The compressed language used in comic panels is surprisingly advanced. And comics and graphic novels often use literary themes, with all the elements of storytelling: protagonist, antagonist, story arc, resolution. Claudia McVicker says: "And if you really consider how the pictures and words work together to tell a story, you can make the case that comics are just as complex as any other kind of literature." - expand vocabulary: My 7-year old constantly asks the meaning of works she’s encountered in comic books. She also constantly asks us how to spell words that she's using in her own comic book stories. - spark reluctant readers: many kids that don’t like to read enjoy comics. This seems especially true for boys, who tend to be more reluctant to enjoy read than girls. - inspire a shared / social reading experience: Many kids like to pass comics around, sharing them and discussing their stories. Their serialized plots and bold characters inspire discussion. - improve visual literacy: this is the ability to integrate text and visuals simultaneously. It's worthwhile to skill to impart early in our screen and graphics-driven culture. - diversify reading: most kids enjoy reading comic books along with picture books, chapter books and prose-based stories and novels. - inspire kids to draw: Kids love to draw their own versions of the comics they're reading. They also learn how to draw from studying comic panels. - teach kids about continuity and frames of reference When my 7-year old is working on a comic, she’s really also practicing writing, drawing, creating and thinking. (It's complicated to create a story that works panel-to-panel, even when it’s about a detective that’s also a dog.) Superheros are awesome, but there are also many other types of comic book stories. They range from funny to sad, fantastic to realistic, historical or far-flung. Likewise, there are many types of comics: strips, editorial and gag cartoons, manga, graphic novels (or “graphic books” as the New York Times bestseller list calls them) as well as online webcomics. Stay tuned as explore this universe all month. Comic books are enriching for kids, but let's not forget that they're also FUN. Kids love them. That's because comic books are awesome.


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