The Awesome Benefits of Comic Books for Children

benefits comic books for kids

Reading Eggs is the multi-award winning online reading program that makes learning to read fun. Start your child’s reading journey with a special free trial offer today.

For a long while comic books have gotten a pretty bad rap. They were the sneaky distraction that schoolchildren disguised inside the pages of ‘real books’. People saw them as a more simplified version of reading; something that couldn’t offer the same complexity or developmental benefits that ‘serious books’ could.

But now parents and educators are beginning to see the hidden benefits of the humble comic book (or graphic novel). Professor Carol Tilley from the Department of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois says, “A lot of the criticism of comics and comic books come from people who think that kids are just looking at the pictures and not putting them together with the words.

“Some kids, yes. But you could easily make some of the same criticisms of picture books – that kids are just looking at pictures, and not at the words.”

Here are just some of the awesome benefits of reading comic books:

1. They turn reluctant readers into ravenous readers.

One of the best and most obvious benefits of comic books is that they can be more fun and easier to read than regular books. This can be extremely appealing to young children who would otherwise have little interest in reading traditional forms of books. Many children who think they hate reading respond particularly well to comic books that are based on movies or television shows they enjoy, such as Scooby-Doo and Astro Boy.

2. They give struggling readers confidence.

Comic books don’t intimidate struggling readers with an overwhelming page of text. They usually offer short and easy-to-read sentences, alongside other visual and text cues (e.g. character sighs, door slams etc.) for context. They’re also helpful for children with learning difficulties; children with autism can learn a lot about identifying emotions through the images in a comic book. Children with dyslexia, who may find it frustrating to finish a page in a traditional book, often feel a sense of accomplishment when they complete a page in a comic book. And as many of us know, accomplishment plays a key role in building confident and fluent readers.

3. They increase your child’s inference.

Observation refers to seeing something happening. Inference refers to figuring out something based on evidence and reasoning. It’s an important component of successful comprehension and a valuable life skill for all young children to develop. Comic books can increase inference in young children by encouraging them to “read between the lines” and infer meaning from the images. Children who read comics often need to infer what is not written by the narrator, which is a complex reading strategy. Comic books also help children become familiar with sequencing and understanding succinct language.

4. They expand your child’s bank of words.

When many people think of comic books, they probably don’t take into account the repository of words used on every page, or the opportunity they offer to strengthen vocabulary skills. Comic books give children a unique opportunity to acquire new vocabulary in combination with context cues, that is, information from pictures or from other text cues to help children decipher the meaning of unfamiliar words.

5. They can be a valuable accompaniment for other learning disciplines.

Comic books that explore or touch on historical events, classic tales, wildlife, nature, positive relationships and more can provide a valuable supplement to other areas of learning. For example, if your child is learning about the ancient Egyptians, a comic book story set in ancient Egypt may use pictures to explain important period details, such as clothing, food, rituals, farming, construction, trade, commerce, and cultural and social traits. By taking in a combination of words and illustrations, many children obtain the big picture more easily and with more enthusiasm than they would from using textbooks alone.

6. There are many different comic book genres to suit all tastes.

Comic books aren’t just about superheros and villains. And they’re certainly not just for boys. Comic books and graphic novels are spread across many different genres, including comedy, drama, sci-fi and fantasy, and there is bound to be something to suit all tastes, ages and reading levels. There may even be something that you might like to get into yourself, or enjoy together with your child, snuggled up before bedtime!

Reading Eggs is the multi-award winning online reading program that makes learning to read fun. With hundreds of guided reading lessons, fun games, lovable characters, exciting rewards and over 2000 e-books, start your child’s reading journey with a special free trial offer today.

8 Everyday Ways to Build Your Child’s Listening Skills

improve child listening skills

FREE TRIAL OFFER: Start your free trial of Reading Eggs here and experience the award-winning online reading program that children love.

Listening comprehension is more than simply hearing what is being said. It involves:

  • the ability to take in information
  • the ability to respond to instructions
  • the ability to share ideas, thoughts and opinions

Overall, listening comprehension is the ability to understand the meaning of words heard and to then be able to relate to them in some way. When your child hears a story, listening comprehension allows them to understand it, remember it, talk about it, and even retell it in their own  words.

Children who are good listeners often grow up to become good communicators. It’s an important skill to develop at an early age and, like a muscle, it needs regular exercise to grow stronger. Here are eight everyday ways you can help build your child’s listening comprehension skills at home:

1. Get their full attention. Encourage your child to look at you when they listen. Their full attention is important, and this gets them into the habit of giving their full attention to what’s being said.

2. Make reading an interactive activity. While reading aloud, stop before turning the page and ask, “What do you think will happen next?” Ask your child to explain their answer to see how well they’ve been listening. If they haven’t been listening, avoid criticising and instead, aim to get them into a fun habit of predicting what will happen next.

3. Play listening games. Games like Simon Says helps your child build listening comprehension skills in a fun and rewarding way. You can even make up your own listening games at home. For example, ask your child to find objects around the house by giving them two-part verbal instructions, then gradually progress to three-part, four-part, and so on.

4. Play “story chain”. This is a fun activity that the whole family can play together. Have one person start an original story by saying one line (e.g. “Once upon a time, there was a bear who lived in a cave”). Then go around in a circle so that each person contributes a sentence to the story.

5. Place an emphasis on common speech signals. Help your child listen out for important cues by placing an emphasis on common speech signals when you talk. These could include words like ‘now’, ‘next’ and ‘finally’.

6. Help your child to build their vocabulary. Children can get stuck on a word they don’t understand and end up missing the rest of what’s being said. Use books, games, flashcards, charts and online programs like Reading Eggs to build your child’s vocabulary, and don’t forget to read together regularly.

7. Be a good listener too. Avoid interrupting your child when they are talking, and show them that you’re listening to what they have to say. Give positive indicators like nodding, smiling, saying supporting words, and following up with questions or elaborating on what they have said to show interest.

8. Remember that most young children have short attention spans. Don’t expect your child to process information if it is lengthy, out of context, or not particularly interesting to them. Focus on building learning comprehension skills in a fun and supportive way, and remember to always be patient.

Start your free trial of Reading Eggs here. Reading Eggs is the fun and interactive reading program that teaches kids aged 3-13 vocabulary, comprehension, phonemic awareness and more. Children complete hundreds of listening games, activities and lessons designed to build essential early literacy skills in an entertaining and supportive way. 

8 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Attention When Reading

improve child focus

Sitting down to read a book requires a great deal of focus. This can be a challenge for restless or reluctant young readers who struggle to pay attention while reading or being read aloud to.

Focusing on reading a book is something that even adults struggle to do. Low concentration and attention levels are a common issue for many young children, and can affect the way they learn and retain new information at school.

If your child struggles with staying focused while reading, here are eight helpful ways you can help them improve:

1. Break up their reading time. Your child may feel more motivated to start reading if they know they won’t be expected to sit for long periods of time. Encourage your child to take regular reading breaks every 15-20 minutes. Make it fun by having them stop, put down their book, and do ten star jumps or run on the spot.

2. Observe optimal times of the day. A child’s level of focus and alertness can change dramatically over the course of a day. Observe which time of the day your child is most ready and prepared to sit down and focus on reading a book. It could be early in the morning, in the middle of the day, or just before sitting down for dinner.

3. Create a distraction-free zone. Your child should have a comfortable and quiet place to read. Create a reading environment that is free from distractions like toys, the computer or the television.

4. Get creative. Your child may struggle to read the first page of a book, but have no problems spending 30 minutes building pictures with wooden craft sticks. A child’s level of focus depends on how interested they are in the activity. Get creative and turn the reading experience into a fun hands-on activity. You can role-play scenes from a book as you read aloud together, or have your child shape the letters of different words using craft sticks or play dough.

5. Observe your child’s interest. What has your child been talking about recently? They may have taken up an interest in dinosaurs, trucks, witches or horses. Whatever your child is fascinated by, find a book you know they will love.

6. Encourage physical activity. Educational experts have long made the link between physical activity and improved concentration levels. Before your child sits down to read, encourage them to engage in an outdoor game or a fun dance routine to help “wake up” their mind.

7. Provide fun instructions. Create excitement about reading by singing your instructions or using a piece of music or a fun sound to prompt reading time. Use a visual reminder that reading time is happening by displaying a poster on the wall or giving your child a ‘Reading Bear’ which they can sit with, hold on their lap, or read aloud to during reading time.

8. Encourage focusing techniques. Meditation is a great way to help your child focus before sitting down to read. Begin with short sessions of a minute or two and ask your child to focus on a particular object in the room or in their mind. When they get distracted while reading, encourage them to take a moment to refocus on the same object to push out any distracting thoughts.

Do you have any other special techniques or tips to help your child to stay focused while reading?