Jan 16

Nine Tips on Reading Comics with your Kids

There’s so much I got from the article yesterday that this part of it deserves it’s own post!  Kids as young as four it seems can be introduced to the world of comics with this set of steps.  Moms, dads, teachers, babysitters, and other role models please take note!

1.         Find comics related to your child’s interests. Interests could involve a subject like robots or a favorite animal, or a movie or TV show, or a genre like humor or scary stories. Librarians and comic shop staff can help you locate age-appropriate comics of different types. Or start with newspaper comic strips like Garfield, or collections of classic comics for all ages, like Peanuts or Calvin & Hobbes. As with any reading selection, parents should always read the material beforehand.

2.         Let the child select the particular comics that attract them most. When kids are given a choice in what they read, their reading motivation increases significantly.

3.         Read the comics to and with your child, especially for younger, pre-reading children.

4.         As you read, point to the speech balloons as you say the words, and then to the character talking, particularly when a child is new to comics or new to reading. Point out interesting things in the panel, also. This guided reading will help your child match letters and written words to sounds as well as learn the “grammar” of comics and narrative, panel by panel.

5.         Encourage the child to ask questions, and ask questions yourself based on what is being read. “What’s that?” “What do you think she will do with that?” “What do you think will happen next?” Ask the child to draw conclusions and to predict, using a finger to point out clues and important elements.

6.         Invite the child to participate by doing the sound effects or voice-acting some of the characters while you voice-act other characters. Ham it up! Comics conventions sometimes hold what’s called “the Live Strip Show”: events where voice actors enthusiastically perform the parts for comics projected onto a screen, to a standing-room-only audience.

7.         Keep it enjoyable. If the child doesn’t seem to like the comics form, or has interest that comes and goes, don’t force comics on them. Try other formats like picture books or whatever literacy materials the child seems drawn to. But if the child like only comics, that’s fine too. Try other materials based on commonalities with favorite comics, but don’t push it. Learning to enjoy reading in different formats can take time.

8.         Reading comics together as a family can be a fantastic bonding experience. Parents can assign “roles” to various family members, giving everyone a chance to flex their acting muscles as well as improve their reading.

9.         Do not “replace” anything with comics. Let them be an additional source of reading. The important thing is to have comics and books of many subjects and formats freely available at home.

-Martha Cornog, Graphic Novel Reporter

Check out the article here!

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