Magazines and comics aren't just for fun – they're also a great way to encourage reading! Most children love comics, or at least like them enough to flick through them. Even the most reluctant reader will chuckle at the slapstick in a comic strip and non-fiction titles are great for children who are less interested in narratives but love learning facts or have a specific hobby they can read about.
Reading magazines and comics develop skills such as comprehension, visual literacy and vocabulary. Magazines and comics also have the added benefit of being more appealing or easier to read as images add another 'language ' through which children can understand what they're reading.
So how do you choose?
Steer away from gimmicks like the free shiny plastic toy on the front. It's just another item waiting to be stood on when it's abandoned on the bedroom floor!
Instead consider their interests and hobbies. There's something for everyone, on topics from space to Lego, animals to journaling. Here are just a few to start your search!
Comics or magazines published in association with the BBC must meet stringent quality control standards so are a safe pick. Operation Ouch is the official magazine to accompany the BBC TV show which explores the fascinating world of medicine and human biology. Plenty great facts and gory details!
Match of the Day is exactly what you want from a football magazine. There are player biographies, tips on set pieces, training and skills. SheKicks also keeps readers up-to-date with football news, offering interviews and photos from women's football across the world.
National Geographic Kids is packed with interesting information.
Eco Kidsis a magazine full of animal facts, great photos and tips on helping the environment. Each section is short and easy-to-read, making it ideal for grabbing and keeping reader's attention.
There is always The Beano. It's been brought up to date, with the content reflecting today's values, while still being packed full of fun and laughter.
For older readers, Teen Breathe is filled with activities and ideas to reflect, explore mindfulness and journal.
Some top tips for picking:
- Try before you buy. Spend some time looking at different magazines together online before you head to the shops, most publications have samples online.
- Like a book, start with genre, what are the themes in the comic? What interests your child? Is it science, nature, sports, fashion or jokes?
- Try to find a text that is presented in short chunks, easy to digest and pick up to read anytime. The beauty of a comic is the ability to dip in and out and find something appealing quickly.
- Are there puzzles and games to entertain? From word searches, spot the difference, sketching and quiz questions, it's all there in the best publications.
All reading is good reading and magazines and comics are a brilliant gateway to making reading for pleasure a habit!