I am an avid comic book reader, and it got me thinking that it may be a great way to introduce my 5 year old son to books. Any thoughts on this?


4 Answers

Andrea Heatherington Profile

I understand your concerns, but I may also point out that we teach children to read and write starting with pictures(drawings).

Encouraging children to doodle and draw, eventually leads to the ability to write letters, words and then form sentences. Children's books use pictures and illustrations to teach kids comprehension, and how to come to conclusions about the story on their own. 

Comic books offer a uniquely mature way to use illustrations to guide the children from one segment or part of the story, to the next. 

Noah Green Profile
Noah Green answered

It's a great idea, as long as there's balance, and he isn't just reading comic books.

There is nothing wrong with comic books at all. I love them. In his situation though, I'd try and be as mindful of the future as possible. Comic books are going to teach him to associate books with pictures. It may make it more difficult for him to read novels, textbooks, etc. In the future. So if you were to throw in some short stories here and there, and I think it's excellent.

That's just my two-cents. Of course, in the end, it's up to you. :)

Yo Kass Profile
Yo Kass , Dad with an interest in comic books., answered

I think introducing your son to the world of literature through comic books makes a lot of sense.

I'm not a huge comic book buff, but as a recovering Goth - I can admit to having read things like Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, The Sandman, Lenore and even the odd issue of Arkham Asylum.

I think comic books are visually stunning (which will help keep your son engaged) and they're fun for you to read. This last point is important because the enthusiasm you feel for the story will translate across to your son at story time.

Comic books also have characters with a lot of depth, and intricate story lines - and I personally believe your son will benefit from being exposed to these literary devices at a young age.

The only thing I'd throw in as a warning is that comic books often have underlying subtext and subject matter that you might not want to expose your son to at a young age - that's why picking the right series is pretty important.

I remember being left in front of the TV to watch anime and manga at a very young age - and although the animated characters looked cute and child-friendly, I can assure you that some of the content certainly wasn't!

But, seeing as you're an avid comic book reader, I'm pretty sure your son is in good hands.

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Virginia Zuloaga
Virginia Zuloaga commented
Hi Andrea,

I agree with Kass about the fact that the content might be inappropriate in most of the comic books. I have a four year old boy and I had the same idea a few months ago.

Have you checked out Geronimo's Stilton's comic books? I heard a lot about the books so when I first saw the comic book I instantly bought it. Also characters like Asterix and Obelix could be a nice option, just like Peanuts or Smurfs.

Nowadays a lot of child's favorite characters are found in comic books so it shouldn't be a problem finding one that's fun and appropriate for his age.
Yo Kass
Yo Kass commented
Since Virginia mentioned Asterix and Obelix, I think it's safe to also throw Tintin into the mix! I was addicted to both - I really don't understand why more people don't appreciate them...

Andrea - Invader Zim was awesome! I'm going to go watch some YouTube clips now :)
Andrea Heatherington
My son loves Tintin, and Doctor Doolittle, which are both available in an illustrated book form for children.
Vincent (my son) is a huge fan of Scooby-Doo, Sonic the Hedgehog and Thor which are all available in monthly circulated comic books.
Kathryn Wright Profile
Kathryn Wright , Keen reader and graduate, answered

I have always found Roald Dahl's books to tick all the boxes necessary for encouraging children to read. I believe the short staccato language in comics might not make for the most natural flow whilst learning to read, and probably have a low reading age score based on the Flesh-Kincaid reading score which is widely used by schools to measure reading age.

Some of my favorite books as a child were George's Marvellous

Medicine, The Twits, Matilda and The BFG and for shorter stories Revolting Rhymes is just brilliant. My vocabulary was always advanced as a youngster and I believe it is because of my exposure to these books, that still use very intelligent language, mainly because Quentin Blake's illustrations really helped to bring the stories to life. Sadly, I did not continue to expand my reading horizons very much further in later life, but I would definitely recommend these for children.

As an idea, why not have the comics as a treat for when your child has read a few pages of something else, that way you win both times! Comics often become a habit and a hobby and I think that's great as they are so colourful and imaginative.

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Andrea Heatherington
I absolutely agree with you on Ronald Dahl, and the awesome thing about most of his books is that the text is accompanied by adorable illustrations.
I fell in love with Matilda when I was very young and feverishly sought out Dahl's other writings. To this day I read his books, he writes wonderful adult fiction. Thanks for the insight!
Kathryn Wright
Kathryn Wright commented
No problem. Sometime I wish I could lock myself away for a few days to read them all again properly!
Andrea Heatherington
I am lucky to be able to spend a bit of time everyday reading while at work. My toolbox is full of graphic and reg form novels, monthly comics, and magazines like Bust. I feel empty if I don't read everyday. I hope to pass this love of reading on to my boy.

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