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The Secret to Getting Your Kid to Read This Summer?

Summer Reading Tips. The Cognitive Emporium.

Just in time for summer: The easy way to get your child to read without putting up a fight...and enjoy it!

If your child is in the second grade and has completed the entire Harry Potter series without slowing down, then graphic novels would be a snack for that reading foodie.

However, for the other kid who dreads hearing the words, “summer reading”, I have some advice on how to make this summer be the year your child learned to love to read.  

Graphic novels for kids

Graphic novels are a mixture of illustrations and text that keeps your brain from becoming overwhelmed. They are the perfect place to hook a child on a love of reading and more and more publishers are producing them.

Did you ever stop to think why it is that your child is drawn to The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books?  All kinds of stories are being told in this format and there is a reason for this: They sell. And they sell because kids love them!

I recently handed a child two books, one was a graphic novel, the other was a traditional formatted novel. They both were at the same grade level, but this student “hated” to read books.

I told her that I wanted her to read two pages from each book then choose the one that she would want to read one more page in. She chose the graphic novel.

When I  asked her why she had chosen the graphic novel, she answered, “this one is easier to read.”  She was shocked to find out that both books were at the same reading level.

She lit up and replied, “Do you mean that  I could actually finish this book and get the same amount of AR points that are required in my class”?

When I answered yes, she asked me where she could get a book like this one.

When tasks are hard, we choose easy. That is an innate survival skill.

When kids are forced to do hard things and never succeed at them then, over time, they either give up or decide that they do not like that task and will avoid or not go back to it at all.

However, when they are shown that a challenge doesn’t have to be hard, and success is possible, then they are more likely to try again.

That is why you want to show them success by introducing graphic novels. Once they get a taste for the simple, efficient way of reading comprehension, they are more likely to engage in the harder more challenging books.

They no longer tell themselves that “I can’t” and start believing that they can or at least, “I will try”.

I don’t believe that you can force kids to love to read. I do believe, however, that you can instill curiosity by showing them an efficient way to read, which in turn lights the candle for intrinsic motivation to find answers to their burning questions that are found in books.


The following is a list of the top 20 graphic novels that my students have loved:


Ages 6+

Bink & Gollie

Little Robot

Ages 8+

The City of Ember: The Graphic Novel


Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible

Lowriders in Space

Lunch Lady Series

Ages 9+

The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel: Volume 1

El Deafo


A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel

Zeus: King of the Gods: Olympians Book 1

Ages 10+


The Encyclopedia of Early Earth


Ages 12+

Boxers & Saints

The Great American Dust Bowl

Legend: The Graphic Novel

Ages 13+

Paper Gils, Volume 1

Scott Pilgrim Series