Graphic Novels: Friend or Foe?

About Blog Post August 8, 2023 Amanda Stogsdill headshot of post author Amanda Stogsdill
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Graphic novels are rising in popularity across all ages, but there has been a notable uptick in this format among children’s and middle grade literature.  Despite their growth in popularity, many parents still discount the benefits of allowing their children to read graphic novels. Today’s blog is about all the advantages of allowing your kids to check out these sometimes misunderstood books.


In spite of having a reputation for being “dumbed down,” graphic novels often use a more advanced vocabulary than other children’s literature.  Those speech bubbles are small, and graphic novel authors have to make each word count in the space they are given.  This not only adds to your child’s vocabulary, but it also makes young readers use the artwork to help decipher the meaning of these new words.  This leads us to another advantage of letting kids read the adventures of their favorite characters and superheroes:  building fundamental reading skills.


By reading novels with images and words, children use the two in tandem to build reading comprehension, hone their ability to pick out plot, settings, and character development, as well as develop their ability to use context clues.  This can level the playing field for readers who struggle with more traditional chapter books.  However, advanced learners also reap the benefits of graphic novels by building their visual literacy skills and vocabulary.


Graphic novels are also a great way to entice reluctant readers to dive into books. Not only do graphic novels often feature some of their favorite characters, but they also provide confidence to children by allowing them to choose reading materials with which they feel comfortable.  In 2020, the Newbery Medal winner was “New Kid” by Jerry Craft, cementing the graphic novel as an important facet of children's literature.  Whether your child is interested in superheroes, video games, historical events, realistic fiction, or classic children’s characters, there is a graphic novel on the shelves for them.