Why should your kids read graphic novels?

We live in an increasingly visual culture. Teens are bombarded with images from computers, TVs, cell phones and even MP3 players. It's no wonder that so many teens are reluctant readers. Graphic Novels are a great way to encourage reading to visually oriented teens because 2/3 of the story is conveyed through images. They provide a reading experience that embraces the multimedia nature of today’s culture.

As many as 6.3 million secondary school students are reading below grade level. Locally, 30% of adults operate at or below minimal literacy. Graphic novels attract both advanced and reluctant readers because the pictures draw them in and the unique stories keep them reading.

Many graphic novels cover everyday issues such as friendship, relationships, identity, family, and school, as well as more serious topics like AIDS, abuse, and coping with death. Graphic novels are a great path to open discussion with teens on difficult topics without being too heavy-handed.

It is a common misconception that graphic novels are "dumbed-down" books. Graphic novels can be as simple or as complex as any other literature, it is simply a different format. Many graphic novels offer complex themes, plots, and structures, as well as challenging vocabulary and can make complex concepts more accessible than text alone. Graphic novels can serve as a bridge to other types of literature. Above and beyond all, they are astoundingly popular with teens!

Resources

What Graphic Novels Mean to Me - by Martin Kilroy, High School Student

How to read a Graphic Novel

How to read Manga

Get the Picture! Get Graphic Events

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This project was made possible in part by a Family Literacy Library Services grant from the New York State Library, New York State Education Department.