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Wake up that Summer Reading list with Graphic Novels!

Today we have a post from Reading With Pictures volunteer Rosemary Kiladitis. She is a longtime comic book reader, bibliophile, newly minted librarian, and mom of 3. She is a youth literacy advocate who loves reader’s advisory and thinks every classroom library deserves a graphic novel section.

If you have kids in grade school or high school, you know that with the promise of summer vacation brings the necessity of Summer Reading. Teachers will send home suggested reading lists, which will likely be met with some trepidation—after being told what to read all school year long, can’t a kid just read what he or she wants?

Well, yes. And no. With the Common Core Learning Standards demanding more from our nation’s children than ever before, educators are feeling the pressure to make sure students as young as 5 are able to read, decipher, and understand increasingly complex, informative ideas in text. There is a growing emphasis on nonfiction and a need to assimilate ideas presented in a number of sources, moving beyond the textbook and onto digital media and publications like newspapers and magazines.

Can you think of a better time to introduce graphic novels to the summer reading list? I can’t! Let’s take a look at the benefits of introducing kids to graphic novels:

  • Graphic novels provide a more visually interesting, exciting way to communicate information.
  • With text boxes and panels imposing a space limit, ideas need to be communicated succinctly, and rely on the visuals to help carry the point across.
  • Quite simply, graphic novels help readers process both textual and visual information and assimilate multifaceted layers of information.
  • The Common Core Standards even call for the use of graphic novels for Grades 5-7, charging students to “analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel, multimedia, presentation of fiction, folktale, myth or poem)”. (Common Core Standards, 2013

Why wait for Grade 5 to introduce these books to children? There is a wealth of graphic novels – both fiction and nonfiction – waiting to be read and enjoyed. In fact, I recommend that you go with your kids to the library and pick up a few to read together. I guarantee you’ll enjoy it, and your kids will love you for it.

Watch this space over the next week; I will be posting suggested graphic novels for kids in grades K-12 from my friends over at Whatcha Reading ( – check back and see what we’re reading, then hit the shelves!