My son is almost eight and he’s never been what I’d call an “avid” reader. I guess he falls into “reluctant” reader, but I think that’s only because he enjoys being read to, rather than doing the reading himself. He loves being read to. Unfortunately, he’s easily distracted by video and games, but recently he’s found a book series at the school library that’s really drawn him in. It’s not the traditional picture book or chapter book. I’m not sure what you call it – graphic novel? Of course, it’s not novel length. It looks like a comic with a hard cover. Whatever it’s called, I think it’s brilliant.
Each book in the series is about a different scary, fictional creature with titles like: Vampires! Sasquatch! Witches! Chupacabra! Aliens! The boys in his grade seem to be passing them around, taking turns checking out one or two each week. (I know this because another boy let my son read Chupacabra! one day in class.) Each book presents the creatures as something mythological that people once believed in and relates actual stories about events surrounding the creatures. In Aliens!, we learn about the original abduction story from the 1950’s. In Witches!, we learn about the Salem Witch Trials. None of it is particularly related to Common Core (gasp!), but it’s all rather intriguing and fascinating to boys in second grade.
It’s so important that early reading be fun for kids, whatever “fun” means to them. So what if it looks like a comic book? So what if it’s a novella instead of a novel? I think sometimes we get caught up in the format of a book more than we should. I’d rather have my kid read the phone book instead of nothing at all if he found that fun, which of course he wouldn’t, but you get my point. And that goes for ebooks as well. No matter what the format, fiction is good for you.