Friday, October 9, 2009

The Next Big Thing to Arrive in Your Child's Vocabulary

Did you realize graphic novels have a higher level of vocabulary? It's true! Kids reading graphic novels might be too distracted by the artwork to realize they're reading a book with bigger words in it. Graphic novels tend to have vocabulary that is one grade level higher than a prose book would have that's aimed at the same age level.

In one of my last posts "Wait...There Are Comic Books in the Library!?!" I talked about how graphic novels are a great way to encourage reluctant readers to read. But graphic novels are terrific in other ways for helping kids learn.

Graphic novels work on building visual literacy. Kids have to look at the picture and decode what is happening in it, and how it relates to the text. Readers may also have to "read in the gutter". The gutter is the space between panels. For instance, if panel one has a person buying food at the store, and panel two has the same person eating the food at home, the reader has to infer that between the two panels the person went home and cooked the food. They have to be interactive-put themselves in the place of the character and figure out what happened to get the character from panel one to panel two.

Some graphic novels we're read recently and enjoyed have been:

Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute. Book one in the Lunch Lady series, where both lunch AND justice are served.

The Kickball Kids. A My First Graphic Novel title, which was a series recommended by a Kidding Around reader's comment. The kickball team is about to compete in the big game! Who will win?

Fashion Kitty Versus the Fashion Queen. 2nd in the Fashion Kitty series. Fashion Kitty returns to protect the fashion (and individuality) rights of her peers.

Do you have any graphic novel recommendations to share? What do you or your child think about them? We'd love to hear!

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