A quick note on comics

Quite a few people have taken issue–and reasonably so–with my distinction between comics and “real text.” I regret my word choice here: I hadn’t intended to imply that comics are not “real” text. I am a huge fan of comics and graphic novels for kids, and they make up a large portion of my kids’ media diet. However, my goal for the List was to get my kids to prioritize their time–to make them tend to the tasks they MUST accomplish before they settle in for hours on the computer. During the school year, that means getting their assigned reading done: my daughter would have pages in textbooks or an assigned novel, my son is expected to read five news articles per week. Invariably, they would put these tasks off, or not do them at all. And they never seem to think of it as  “homework” since there’s nothing to hand in. My first iteration of The List (which was a hand written scrawl and is not posted on this blog) did not make this distinction, and my daughter responded by reading only graphic novels (and mostly ones that she had read before). I don’t want to discourage that behavior, but she needed to be pushed to engage in longer and more challenging texts. So during the school year at least, comics and graphic novels are considered part of “creative” time, since it doesn’t feel like a chore to have to read them (I make no such distinction in the summertime edition of list). In fact, I treat my daughter to a new comic as a reward whenever she finishes a text-driven book.

I’ll post more on this later, but for now I just wanted to acknowledge those who felt my wording did a disservice to comics and graphic novels, because on review, I totally agree with them.


9 thoughts on “A quick note on comics

  1. Pingback: The diet of a committed media omnivore | Narrowback Slacker

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  3. Honestly, I think your lists are perfect. You made them specifically for your family, and you know how to prioritize things in order to maximize time and argue less. I am all for it. I am subject to Newton’s Law of Personal Momentum myself – and I hate mornings more than anything. I’m prone to thinking that I can plan and schedule out my day, only to have the day come and go while I dismiss every reminder that pops up on my computer. I can lose hours on Pinterest, news sites, Facebook, you name it; I need to apply your list theory to my own life and make my own adult list I think! There are so many people out there who are very quick to comment without consideration for context or other people’s feelings. Sorry you’ve encountered criticism over misinterpretation of your values due to mere wording! I’m loving your blog – so thank you!

  4. Super! Would love to hear comics your kids like that you also have found to be gems of a read possibly? My son is really into comics already, and looking ahead for ones without excessive violence or sexualization.

    • I’ll try to cull a list in the weeks ahead. Briefly, they love just about anything by Faith Erin Hicks, Raina Telemeier, Bryan Lee O’Malley. Some do skew a little older, in terms of language and content, though, so you need to decide what’s appropriate for your child. I’m probably a little looser than many parents on this front.

      • Thanks a lot!!!!! Much appreciated. =D I’d for sure be interested in your further list, but If you don’t get to it, please no worries. That gives me a good start. ;>

      • I will definitely do it eventually. But before I forget: Do check out Wonderstruck and The Invention of Hugo Cabret, both by Brian Selznick? They are uniquely formatted illustrated books, roughly 2/3 graphic with now words, 1/3 long-form prose. Both are beautiful stories and great to read with kids of ANY age.

  5. Some titles that are great for kids are My Little Pony (Friendship is Magic), Sonic the Hedge Hog, Skylanders and anything Disney based. Check with your local comic book store. They may have an all ages section where they separate out books that are okay for everyone.

  6. Hmm, I don’t know if this is the right way to go psychologically… How can reading be fun when a child learns that it’s just something that happens because they “have” to do it to please adults? It takes away the feeling of their own interest and inner motivation; that’s how the human psyche works.

    I appreciate what you’re doing and I’m glad if this method makes your kids love reading, but in _most_ cases, this just makes reading feel like a chore.

    For instance, it’s a horrible thing that schools force kids to read and make it seem terribly “important”, instead of letting them choose what they want to read and read as much as they want. Later, some kids are lucky enough to find books that they fall in love with – these are almost never books that an adult told them to read – and they feel surprised to realize that wow, reading this feels amazing, why didn’t I know about this?

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