Why I Spy?

I spy a 2 bears, a melon, some flan, I spy kid who’s a big reading fan!
As parents, grandparents and educators, we know how absorbed our kids get in fun books like I Spy, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Garfield. Sometimes we worry: if my kid’s so busy reading the junk food of literature, when will they get to the vegetables? Let me put your fears to rest.

letters and household objectsWhen kids read Search & Find books like I Spy and Where’s Waldothey’re working on important study skills in a fun, painless way.  I Spy books can teach kids to:

  • Skim and scan
  • Work methodically
  • Pay close attention to detail
  • Stick with a challenge
  • Think flexibly (sometimes a word can have more than one meaning!)

Comic books such as Big Nate and graphic novels like Lumberjanes can keep kids busy reading for hours. Comic books help kids:

  • Build visual literacy
  • Make inferences
  • Build vocabulary (Dr. Stephen D. Krashen, Professor Emeritus of Education, University of Southern California, found a comic book a day will expose your kid to about 500,000 words over the course of a year)
  • Be exposed to a variety of art styles

As a parent, I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when a series of graphic novels by Raina Telgemeier helped turn my kid into a reader. I’m so grateful that her teachers and school librarian recognized the value of graphic novels rather than considering them second-rate literature.


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A third kind of highly-visual reading material, hybrid novels, combine visual elements of comic books and graphic novels with more traditional text-based storytelling to create books kids want to read. The Origami Yoda series and The Zero Degree Zombie Zone are two popular examples. Again, kids build the same important reading skills with hybrid novels as they do with traditional novels.  Try one today!

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Natalie Moreland

Natalie works in the Kids Library and has a background in teaching. She delights in spreading bookjoy to people of all ages. She also takes interest in cycling, creating art, social justice, raising small livestock, and making music.