Children who read widely in their own time are more likely to attain higher grades than their peers who don’t enjoy reading. In addition to this, research has also proven how reading for pleasure can lead to a reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression for both children and adults.
Reading is, therefore, beneficial to both academic success and well-being, and the promotion of this should be a priority for schools. However, for some pupils the prospect of sitting and reading through a book is not a pleasurable thought.
Large books full of prose can seem particularly intimidating. For these children, comics and graphic novels are often a great way to introduce them to reading. Comics are a predominantly visual medium and will use elements of the grammar of film and video games that some pupils may be more familiar with.
Here are some recommendations for comics and graphic novels that would be a great addition to any classroom reading area or school library:
There’s a Bird on Your Head! – Mo Willems
Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie books are a fun way to introduce young children to the conventions and visual grammar of comic books as the only written language is dialogue presented, in true comic book style, in speech bubbles. In this title, Gerald (the elephant) has a bird on his head and needs Piggie’s help to remove it.
Bunny vs Monkey – Jamie Smart
Bunny vs Monkey is a funny, bright and quick-paced book about the ongoing battle between a peace-loving bunny and a megalomaniac monkey intent on bringing chaos into the woodland. Due to its format – a series of 2-3 page-long individual stories – it’s great for pupils who are just beginning to develop stamina in their reading.
Roller Girl – Victoria Jamieson
Change isn’t always easy and 12-year old Astrid is about to realise this. >Roller Girl< is a heart-warming graphic novel about roller derby, friendship and growing apart from your best friend. Full of strong female characters and role models, this is wonderful book that may help boys and girls alike to begin to deal with the idea of transition to secondary school.
Nimona – Noelle Stevenson
Originally a webcomic, >Nimona< is a medieval fantasy themed graphic novel that follows Nimona, an ambitious young shapeshifter, in her quest to become a sidekick to a supervillain, Lord Ballister Blackheart. >Nimona< is funny, moving and full of heart as well as being a thought-provoking comment on Good and Evil.
Through the Woods – Emily Carroll
This beautifully presented collection of short stories would be a great accompaniment to the study of classic Gothic literature such as Frankenstein but would also appeal to fans of modern horror movies too. This is a book of five deliciously dark fairytale-esque tales where the horror is found in what is implied rather than what is explicitly said.