Scholastic to Publish Children’s Graphic Novels

Scholastic announced at ComicCon that they are launching a new line of books for children. Each one will be a graphic novel. Some are original material while others will be adaptions of books originally written as novels (a series of Babysitter’s Club books, a Goosebumps series and an adaption of The Last Unicorn were all mentioned).

Graphic novels have been a touchy subject with parents and teachers in the past, often being dismissed as void of educational value and rarely considered “real” books, but lately that has begun to change. The problem of “reluctant readers” (children who either don’t read because they struggle with it or children who don’t read because they simply don’t like to) has become a major issue, and so many studies on the subject have been given more weight when considering appropriate reading material for children. Many of these studies show that graphic novels are a really good way to get “reluctant readers” to read. The kids find them more accessable (pictures, fewer words in a line, and other visual cues make them seem easier to approach) and so are often more likely to read them than traditional novels. Seeing them as little more than long comic books (which never go over terribly well with parents and teachers), schools and libraries have been reluctant to supply them. Many schools and libraries are now far more open to carrying graphic novels, however, because of the marked difference it makes in getting kids to read.

Scholastic has always been big on supporting education and printing books that will help teachers and parents without turning off kids too much. This is a pretty big move for them, but it is not out of line with their track record either. I look forward to seeing these books published, hopefully seeing other publishers follow suit, and seeing a growing respect for the genre in the field of education. I will be interested to see if it makes a noticable difference in reading level and willingness among kids to have more access to these kinds of books (my suspicion is that if they become easily avalible, it will).

You can read about the announcement here at Comic Book Resources.

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