Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Graphic Novels Breakthough

My little dude was not a fan of reading. When he'd read aloud to me during school, I could hear him struggling as he slowly read. I must also admit that it was a little tiring for me to sit through the tedious sessions, mainly because I tend to get dozy under the best conditions if I'm listening to someone read aloud, so the slow pace made it even harder. It's a weird flaw, but one I'll admit.

I always hoped that my kids would love reading as much as I did as a kid and still do now. And working in a library added excitement to this desire--I had access to tons of books to share! What could be better? So I went on a mission to find books to ignite his interest and found a graphic novel book called The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future. It was a silly book by the author of Captain Underpants, but little man fell in love. He saw that books could be fun and actually asked for more. So I went on a search for graphic novels. It was summertime, so I could justify unlimited graphic novels for reading material without feeling guilty or like a lazy teacher. It was one of my best decisions ever. My little dude lost his grumbly attitude towards reading to a boy that loved finding books to read. He devoured graphic novel after graphic novel all through the summer. And then the best thing happened when we got back to structured reading. He was much more confident with regular reading and his fluency when he read aloud was night and day.

It has been about two years since the breakthrough summer and now he enjoys reading many different types of books. He still loves a fun graphic novel, but he also is reading chapter books and even will read a book with almost no pictures. That might not seem like much, but he's a big fan of the "flip through a book and look at font size and pictures before knowing what it's about" method of book selection. So for parents out there feeling stuck when teaching reading to their kids, I fully recommend giving the graphic novel method a shot. The joy of homeschooling is that you can be flexible, so taking a break from the text books or reading comprehension worksheets could pay off in unexpected ways over the long run. And if graphic novels don't appeal to your reader, try transition books or fun light books, but give yourself permission to break from formal reading for fun reading.

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