One day, a box of used clothes came into our home. Buried in between the clothes was an Archie comic book. One innocent little comic book that ended up launching my daughter in a new reading direction during her tween years.
As a community literacy coordinator and a former elementary school teacher, I’ve seen students stop reading for pleasure. I’ve have had many conversations with concerned parents about their child’s lack of reading during their free time. So, it wasn’t a total surprise to me when my own child, an avid consumer of fiction books, started to pass up books for other interests. It wasn’t a surprise, but to be honest, it was a bit disappointing to see.
I can see now, that the introduction of that one Archie comic book was what made the difference in keeping my daughter reading. That one comic book lead to a purchase of over 300 comic books, all for the garage sale price of $25. My daughter read and re-read those comics – in the morning, before bed, on the weekends. They were everywhere in our house and went everywhere with her.
Gradually over a span of three years, the interest in what Betty was saying to Veronica or how Archie had made a mess of things lost its appeal to my daughter. I started to see books reappear in our house again. My attitude towards Archie and his friends had changed. Instead of worrying about the content in the comic books and the fact that they weren’t “real” books, I was thankful that my daughter had found something to keep reading all those years.
I tell this story to parents of primary students who attend the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy’s (CBAL) Come Read with Me workshops. I remind them it’s not so much what their children are reading but that their children are reading. The best book, or comic book, is the one your child wants to read!
Children who read material that is of interest to them are more likely to keep on reading. At CBAL, we encourage parents to read to and with their children. We also encourage parents to support their children’s reading journey even though sometimes the journey is a little different from what they expect. It was for me. So here’s a shout out to Archie, Betty and Veronica! Thank you!
For more information about the Come Read with Me workshop or on how to encourage reading at home, please contact your local CBAL community literacy coordinator.
Community Literacy and Communications Coordinator
Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy