Growing up with a love for all creative forms of fiction, I found myself most drawn to novels. I spent hours at a time immersed in the worlds presented to me; a book was on me at all times. Reading was always something I sought out on my own, never instructed. To my parents and teachers, this was the ideal hobby. There was never any chastising or resistance on their parts. However, I quickly learned that this wasn’t the case for all fiction— there was a massive shift in attitude when I turned my attention to graphic novels.
The notion of graphic novels, comics, and manga considered as “low brow” literature still seems to permeate many circles, despite being widely popular. Well-meaning parents tend to steer their children away from the medium, citing fear of stunting their ability to read long-form works. In actuality, reading them has many benefits- especially when it comes to promoting literacy.
Graphic Novels Are Multilayered
To dismiss graphic novels as unproductive would be a disservice to all the content it contains. On top of analyzing the plot, literary devices, themes, and characters in the text, a reader also learns how to apply literary analysis to the images presented in the novel. For example: Why does an author use different color bubbles when a character speaks? Why is a specific set of panels framed this way? What does the image in this panel foreshadow? Graphic novels promote reading comprehension and critical thinking through its text, as well as visual comprehension.
Graphic Novels Are Accessible
Because the text is displayed in smaller chunks at a time, graphic novels allow for easier understanding and focus. This is especially beneficial for people that may be reading English as a second language or children picking up reading for the first time. The art helps provide extra context for words, dialogue, or any text that may be confusing. All the while, graphic novels still hold the same amount of nuance as any other form of literature.
Ultimately, I believe there’s no such thing as a “real” book. As long as you engage in literature, that’s honest reading! At Our Future Reads, we encourage people to read what interests them, what they love, and what sparks curiosity. For beginners and young readers especially, reading whatever you’re passionate about is a sure-fire way to foster a love for reading down the road.
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