‘Do comics have a role in encouraging our children to read more?’

Guest Post by Claire Wooldridge of Present Issue 

phoenixWe are very pleased to welcome Claire Wooldridge as our guest blogger. Clare discusses the role of comics in encouraging children to read and what’s more, she has five copies of The Phoenix magazine to give away to our lucky competition winners. To enter the competition, please click on the link under the competition header and leave a comment on Present Issue’s website before January 25th.

Claire is owner of Present Issue (www.presentissue.com), a great site which lets you send a beautifully presented single issue of a wide range of magazines. It’s about one-off gift purchases, not subscriptions. Just select the magazine(s) you’d like to send, add your own personal message and the Present Issue team will take care of the rest.

Do comics have a role in encouraging our children to read more?

Encouraging our children to read is important to many of us but the question is how can we teach our children to love reading?

I read an article back in September of last year in The Guardian, where they presented research that highlighted that only 30% of children and teenagers read books daily in their own time in 2012. The key words here being “in their own time” but what was concerning was that this figure was down from 40% in 2005. I have continued to explore this subject and after reading other articles there is a consensus that reading needs to be:

  • €a pleasure and not a chore if our children are to love it,
  • we as parents need to lead by example, ensuring our children see us read, but
  • €we also need to consider what our children read as it is the content that will inspire and make them want to keep reading.

So do comics have a role to play in encouraging children to read?

As a child I loved comics. The Beano, Dandy, Whizzer and Chips, Twinkle, Bunty. My brother was a big fan of Tin Tin and Asterix. We spent our “own time” reading them, it was a true pleasure and in fact we looked forward to going to buy the next issue each week or going to the library to borrow the comic books.


According to research published by the University of Illinois in November 2009, they found evidence to suggest that comics are actually good for children’s learning (http://news.illinois.edu/news/09/1105comics.html). Professor Carol Tilley, stated that comics were as just as sophisticated as other forms of reading and there was evidence that they increased a child’s vocabulary and instilled a love of reading. You might argue that this depends on the quality of the comic but surely reading a range of material still has to be good for our children?

The Phoenix Comic

I was recently introduced to The Phoenix Comic. You may or may not have seen it but it is a weekly comic aimed at 8-12 year olds and it is a real find. The Phoenix is so different to many of the titles currently available mainly due to the fact that it’s not associated with a TV programme.


It is full of original content, colourful, with excellent illustrations. The storylines are varied with mysteries to solve, humour, fantasy, animals and challenges. It seems equally suitable for both boys and girls

I have to admit my favourite is “Corpse Talk” , where a brave interviewer gets to chat to someone from history – just brilliant and such a clever way to teach children a little bit of history – a little like a comic strip take on “Horrible Histories”.


I admire the publisher for taking the step to print this enjoyable comic which will hopefully inspire a love of reading amongst our children.  I see they are also doing an iPad edition, which would make a nice change from games!

I for one will be buying this for my eldest son and I will look forward to reading it too (especially Corpse Talk to improve my historical knowledge!).  Such a great excuse to lead by example but I hope it will encourage his love of reading too.

Competition Time …..

We are very lucky to have 5 copies of The Phoenix Comic to give away! All you need to do is click here to visit Present Issue’s blog. Leave a comment by Friday 25th January 2013 telling us your favourite comic as a child and we will pick 5 names at random. If you are selected we will send the current issue of The Phoenix to your child or anyone else who you think would enjoy reading it. Good Luck!


The Phoenix Comic will soon be available through Present Issue to send as a single issue. So for those occasions when you need to send a child a card, maybe for their Birthday or as a Well Done or Get Well Soon, maybe you might consider sending the latest copy of The Phoenix with a gift card instead?

Further information about The Phoenix can be found on their website –  www.thephoenixcomic.co.uk or if you are interested in downloading the digital version, here’s a direct link  https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/phoenix-weekly-story-comic/id583824799?mt=8&uo=4

Thank you for reading this month’s blog.

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