Early reader comic books give kids who are just beginning to read an opportunity to step away from workbook texts and enjoy the stories!

Early reader comic books give kids who are just beginning to read an opportunity to step away from workbook texts and enjoy the stories!

While teaching my son to read this year, I was faced with a problem. I mean, besides the attention span of a six-year-old when he has to do something he isn’t exactly enjoying. Or the unpredictability of English reading that I was now attempting to explain.

The problem was that, by the ripe age of six, my beginning reader had already fallen in love with such gems of literature as The Wizard of Oz, Henry Huggins, and even The Hobbit. Some of the books we read aloud, and many of them he listened to as audiobooks. And compared to The Hobbit, the pages of his early readers were definitely falling flat.

I think it is a common problem for children, especially for those who have been enjoying books throughout their early childhood. When learning to read, they often feel uninspired by the text, and their attention wanders off.

For my son, we had to pick and choose the early reader books that he would feel interested in. That’s when we discovered that comic books work really great for practising reading!

When an author tries to string together some coherent text from a few simple words that a beginning reader can sound out, it is indeed difficult to come up with something better than, “There is a cat. The cat is big”. But if you put the same kind of words into a comic book bubble and accompany them by expressive drawings, suddenly you have got a little story!

Silly Lilly in Four Seasons by Agnes Rosenstiehl - a perfect early reader comic book!
Silly Lilly in Four Seasons by Agnes Rosenstiehl 

And that was the main focus of this collection of beginner readers – to collect comic books that while being short and simple, would hold some real interest for a child of six.

What Are Comic Books for Kids?

Not very long ago at all, if someone had mentioned comics to me, my first thought would have been, “Like… Batman or Superman?” Something more for a teenager than my little boy who still gives his stuffed animals names like “Fluffy”.

But when the before mentioned boy showed interest in comic books and I was persuaded to research them a little closer, I came to realize that I had been wrong. There is indeed a whole world of comic books for kids out there!

Comic books and graphic novels for kids shouldn’t have any violent content, but focus instead on the topics that kids can relate to – exploring their world, making friends, and learning about themselves. So, we felt like we hit the mother lode when we discovered an amazing series of comic books for beginning readers – TOON Books (and no, this isn’t an ad, and we haven’t received any of them for free, but rather found them at a library sale).

There are currently over fifty titles in the TOON series. Like many early readers, they are divided into levels. Level 1 books feature two panels per page, short simple sentences, and about 100-300 words. Level 2 feature a few panels per page, longer sentences, and close to 600 words. Level 3 takes the count even higher, and there is also a series for independent young readers.

But my favourite part about the TOON series? Those fifty titles feature thirty seven authors from all over the world! And with comic books, it means that you are not only introduced to different style of writing and different topics, but unique art styles. There are comic books made on brown paper bags with crayons; watercolour comic books; and digitally draw comics. It’s a great and diverse series, and I can recommend any of its books for early readers!

I have highlighted a few of our favourites from the TOON series below along with other outstanding comic books for beginner readers. The list primarily consists of level 1 and level 2 books, since it’s usually most difficult to find engaging books for that level.

While primarily meant for beginning readers, these comic books can be enjoyed by the whole family! My three-year-old daughter loved Silly Lilly, Benny and Penny, and Stinky, and I found reading Chi’s Sweet Home very pleasant.

More for Book Lovers

Not early readers, but just great graphic novels for kids!

Interested in science? Take a look at the science graphic novels!

Play a free printable game of guessing the picture book by the first line!

Encourage children to make a book about themselves with a free printable template!

Thanks for reading!

Early reader comic books give kids who are just beginning to read an opportunity to step away from workbook texts and enjoy the stories!
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