Using Graphic Novels to Support Summer Reading

Summer reading with graphic novel

Graphic novels are a fun way to engage kids – even reluctant readers – in summer reading! Their comic book format can be less intimidating than text-only books for many kids. Unlike comic books, though, graphic novels typically involve one long narrative as opposed to a series of shorter stories. Features like speech bubbles, individual panels, and ongoing illustrations provide useful reinforcement for story elements, making it easier to follow the plot. 

Not sure where to start? The New York Times published a list of new summer-themed graphic novels for children just last month. The American Library Association also offers an annual list of recommended kids’ graphic novels. Some classic series you may have enjoyed as a kid, such as The Boxcar Children and Baby-Sitters Club, have been turned into graphic novels in recent years. Many public libraries even have a graphic novel section in the kids’ department.

If your child enjoys art, you can encourage them to create their own graphic novels or comic books with their own characters and stories. This activity is great for building narrative skills, and they can share their work with family and friends. Check out Amazon and other retailers for comic book-making kits that allow kids to submit their work and have it turned into a bound, published book. For a shorter activity, ask your child to draw what they think might happen next, or create an alternative ending to a story.

Keep these options in mind for your child’s summer reading list. Just like with any book, the sky’s the limit when it comes to using graphic novels as a vehicle for conversation, creative thinking, and shared time together! 

Written by Mary Stanton, M.S., CCC-SLP

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