How Comics Can Help Reluctant Readers Achieve

Comics are bursting with images, colour, action and adventure which is why children love them. Some parents believe comics are an inferior form of entertainment and discourage kids from reading them, but this isn’t the case.

There are many valuable skills which can be gained through comics. The trick is finding the right ones to appeal to your child.

Here are some of the benefits to kids of reading comics.


Comics are great for struggling readers because the visual cues help them understand the story. This makes reading less stressful and more entertaining. When children are relaxed, they learn more easily.


Comics aid with concentration because students tend to slow down and look at the images closely. This enhances their focus and means they also spend more time studying the words on the page. The more words kids are exposed to, the better their vocabulary will be.  


While the brain processes comics differently to books, they help kids develop the skills to understand more complex texts. According to educators, comics assist students with memory, inference, sequencing and language development. They also help with understanding of higher order concepts such as irony, mood and tone. 


Reading isn’t just about words. Comics help kids with visual literacy, which is an essential skill into today’s image-saturated culture. Children learn how meaning is created visually through use of colour, shading, angles and other factors. Teachers have found that comics can help students on the autism spectrum decode emotions and body language.


The stories in comics are told in fragments, which means children need to fill in the gaps with their own imaginations. This encourages them to use their creativity. Many kids who love comics also enjoy making their own. Not only is this a fun activity, it’s great for learning.


Comics aren’t just about superheroes. There are comics and graphic novels on every subject. Even Shakespeare and Jane Austen’s works have been made into graphic novels. Teachers often pair adaptations with the original texts because they know this fosters engagement. 


Action and superhero comics have been found to be particularly helpful for enticing boys who struggle with literacy. These students are captivated by the excitement and action, and comics can act as a bridge to full-length adventure books. 


The number of female comic writers and readers continues to grow and there are many comics with empowering messages aimed at girls. This trend was reflected in a panel at New York Comic Con titled “Super Girls: Using Comics to Engage Female Students in the High School Classroom.” 


One of the greatest benefits of comics is the sense of accomplishment they give to reluctant readers and those with learning challenges. This positive experience encourages kids to enjoy reading and see it as a fun pastime instead of a chore.

Comics often portray magical words, but they can also perform magic by turning reluctant readers into enthusiastic ones.