Why Graphic Novels Are Good For Struggling Readers.

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Do your kids struggle or hate reading?

You are not alone but did you know that graphic novels maybe be the answer?

  • Graphic novels are a good choice for struggling readers.
  • They have less text than traditional books, which makes them less overwhelming.
  • Graphic novels are easy to read but have age-appropriate content.


For children with reading difficulties, traditional books can be hard to get through & a bit overwhelming. The dense text or the number of pages can lead them to feel frustrated,  bored, fed up or even embarrassed.

When children avoid books and don’t practice reading, it only gets harder to build reading skills as they get older.

The good news is that there are options outside of the classic novel or textbook.

A graphic novel uses images—often in a comic strip style—to tell a story. With pictures or illustrations and a lot less text, graphic novels help reluctant readers to practice reading.

More importantly they can also help children build positive associations with books.

Here are 5 ways graphic novels can help struggling readers.

1. They look and feel more approachable.

Graphic novels give children a reading experience that’s more “bite size,” with images on every page and much less text. Unlike a 250-page novel filled with dense text, a graphic novel doesn’t seem like it will be too hard to read. Instead, kids can flip through the pages and breathe a sigh of relief. And that can make them feel more confident that they can get through the story.

If your kids like comics they’ll probably love graphic novels.

2. They feel mature and cool, too.

Graphic novels are accessible while still being mature in look and subject matter. The typical picture book is easier to read, but it’s also meant for younger children. Graphic novels are an alternative that children can still relate to age-wise which is important for their self esteem.

Children can also read a graphic novel in front of their friends without having to worry about being judged or feeling embarrassed. The fact that their reading level is a few years behind is a non-issue with this format.

3. They can help with reading comprehension.

Many children with reading difficulties are visual learners. Having images alongside words provides a bridge for understanding the text. Kids might recognise a word but forget its meaning. Noticing the picture of it in the background can give children that ‘aha’ moment. It also teaches them to use all the clues they can to help with reading comprehension.

It makes life easier!

4. They can help kids feel a sense of accomplishment.

Children who have trouble reading are used to feeling discouraged by reading. But a graphic novel can give them a taste of reading success. When a struggling reader says, “I just finished that whole book!” it’s a big deal. This kind of success builds confidence and motivates kids to stick with it. They might even start enjoying books rather than avoiding them.

5. They can prepare kids for other types of books.

Less text, or more pictures, doesn’t mean less active reading. With graphic novels, kids still have to do the mental work of understanding the story line. This includes the plot, narrative, character development, problem, and resolution. The skills children develop with graphic novels can improve their ability to get through other kinds of books. Also, there are graphic novels with high Lexile levels that require strong reading skills.

Graphic novels can turn reading into a happy, intriguing, and worthwhile task for your child. These books can make reading feel relevant and achievable. After finishing that graphic novel, and then that graphic series, your child may just pick up a long-ignored book.

Key takeaways

  • Graphic novels look and feel approachable while still speaking to older kids.
  • Pictures can help with reading comprehension.
  • Graphic novels can help kids feel more confident about reading.

Find books on topics that catch your child’s interest in The Sue Atkins Book Club 





  • Thanks to Louise Baigelman MEd. Executive Director Story Shares and Understandable


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