Friday 1 August 2014

WOW! Let’s Celebrate; Comics, Graphic Novels and Magazines!

Over the summer Space on the Bookshelf is running our WOW! series celebrating children’s comics, magazines and graphic novels. As you know we at SPTB like to celebrate all types of children’s literature and that extends to sequential narrative and periodicals, over the summer holidays we’ll be reviewing quality magazines, comics and graphic novels as well interviews with creators and writers, and much more.

The comic/graphic novel and magazine world is a huge industry, and not the easiest to navigate. Newsagents and supermarkets tend to stock magazines that have television and film tie-ins with free plastic toys, where the content isn’t necessarily the best quality.

However there is an array of well written comics, magazines and graphic novels out there which are far from being poor cousins to book and are in fact rapidly gaining critical acclaim. After many years comics and graphic novels are finally shaking loose of preconceptions that they undermine reading skills, proving that they in fact enhance reading skills and gaining the respect they deserve. This is supported by the national curriculum which in 2014 version set the expectation:

‘…that children will be introduced to literature that reflects our literary heritage as well as literature from other cultural traditions.’

The national curriculum now recognising that graphic novels and comics are well written with good grammar, and narrative, and that they come in many different types from text heavy to text light, and so there is something suitable for every child, whether they are accelerated readers who relish a challenge or reluctant readers who are encouraged by the text light varieties. It also shows the realisation within education providers that comics, graphic novels and magazines can help foster children’s love of reading for pleasure.

In changes in the curriculum are now filtering down to teacher training, as on the current reading list for the Oxford Brookes PGCE course features a whole section on alternative texts, listing the graphic novel version of Neil Gainman’s, Coraline.

The beauty of comics/ graphic novels and magazines, as they are a different reading experience, they are quicker, usually more colourful, and lighter. Perfect reading for holidays or when out and about. The also teach children that not all reading means an commitment of large amounts of time, as the story conclusion is quicker, and they can dipped into and out of much easier. They are therefore a great resource in widening the reading of children, they are also very easy to adapt into fun activities that support other areas of the Curriculum.

With this in mind, in the coming weeks, we endeavour to deliver to you a wide range of articles celebrating great children’s comics, graphic novels and magazines!

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