It is no secret that kids are spending more time than ever on screens in recent times. Whether it's the excitement of playing Minecraft, watching SpongeBob SquarePants, or streaming Dallas Cowboys games, there’s always something to enjoy on TVs or smart devices. However, the more time kids spend on their screens, the worse their attention spans may become, along with the other risks that come with too much screen time.
Encouraging kids to read books in general, and comics in particular, may help overcome these issues. There are several unique benefits comic books offer worthy of consideration.
1. Help Struggling Readers to Picture Plot Points
Kids lacking strong reading abilities might give up on a book if they find plot points challenging to visualize. Understanding plot points is an integral part of the childhood literacy process. When a child has strong reading comprehension skills, these can be useful for life.
Comic books and graphic novels can provide context that isn't possible with words alone. A struggling reader can grasp more complicated works as easily as a kid with strong reading skills when using these visual aids. The easier reading format may motivate a child to explore the subject further.
2. Provide A Better Understanding of Non-Linear Storytelling
Many famous writers, such as Charles Dickens, have used non-linear narratives that shift from the past to the present and the future. One of the advantages of this narrative style is being able to consider the story over a longer time. When kids engage with a story that has a longer timeframe, they get more opportunities to analyze the story.
Comic book authors also use story arcs that span different periods of time. This serialized approach makes it easier for readers to "digest" the story in between installments. Readers can use their skills to be better able to predict what will happen in the story.
3. Improve Memory Skills
Reading a comic book or graphic novel makes it easier for readers to go back and retrieve the immediate visual hit again.
This is vital for children who are stronger visual learners and tend to prefer not to process a lot of text at once. Kids who use Engish as a second language also benefit from graphical representations. Readers in both situations are more likely to develop better vocabulary than their peers.
4. Help to Learn a Higher Number of Complex Words
According to Manfred J. von Vulte, Canadian Director of the Comic Book Project, there is one surprising fact about the vocabulary used in comics and graphic novels. In these books, 36% - 76% of the text contained language used in senior secondary and college placement tests.
These words are known as higher lexicon words among the academic community. Vulte says that most newspapers and other periodicals use text with 14% higher lexicon words, by contrast. Increased usage of higher lexicon words helps contribute to better reading levels.
5. Help with Inference
Inference is one of the most important reading-related skills that children learn from reading comics. This technique comes about from using evidence and reasoning to figure out something observed. These skills can benefit kids when they go on to read other academic material in the future.
Comic books can encourage readers to use their inference skills by reading between the lines using the graphics. Inferring what the writer hasn't said is an essential reading comprehension skill. In many written works, something that is implied instead of stated can carry a lot of weight.
6. Complement Other Disciplines
Comic books or graphic novels are great accompaniments to other learning areas. Some of the themes in these books can include relationships, nature and wildlife, classic literature, and history. A comic or graphic novel based on Shakespeare's work, for example, might consist of information about everyday life during the periods when the plays take place.
These types of books may provide a background for activism, too. For example, nature and wildlife-themed comics or graphic novels may spark an interest in biology that translates to advocating for the environment.
7. Offer Confidence to Children with Different Needs
The sentences in comic books are shorter, and the illustrations provide context. The text is easier to read yet appeals to younger readers in a way that picture books don't.
Dyslexic children will often read through one of these books more quickly than most others. Kids with autism can understand more about identifying emotions from the illustrations.
8. Create Interest in Drawing and Writing
After reading multiple comics, children can feel inspired to start drawing and writing them. Many kids enjoy drawing, and creating artwork that will be part of a bigger story can be a strong motivator.
If a child starts creating comics, the writing process has foundations that translate well to other kinds of writing. Having kids read comics opens all sorts of possibilities.
Comic books are a valuable resource for children of all ages. They can help children to improve their reading skills, learn new things, and develop their creativity. Parents should encourage their children to read comic books and help them choose comics that are appropriate for their age and maturity level.