Check out Toon Book Reader, a fantastic online site that helps bring comics alive for young kids, while teaching them important reading skills. Kids can read a book online, clicking on text bubbles to have the story read aloud to them. My kindergartner loves the interactive nature of this site, and it's fascinating watching her learn how to read the comic book. You need to read the text bubbles in order, from top to bottom, within a panel. And you need to read the panels in order. You need to think about the action that the pictures show, and figure out where the action or setting changes between panels. This site is a great resource for kids practicing early reading skills at home: it's fun, engaging and free! Toon Books has developed this site in conjunction with the Professor Garfield Foundation, a leader in online educational literacy programs.
Little Mouse Gets ReadyLittle Mouse Gets Ready is for early readers in kindergarten and 1st grade. It's a sweet and funny story about a little mouse who must get dressed before he can go to the barn. Each step takes careful work, from putting his underwear on and checking the tag is in the back, to buttoning a shirt. The gentle humor will remind little kids of all that they have to do. As you can see from this picture of a page, the text is very simple and easy to follow.
by Jeff Smith
NY: Toon Books, 2009
(ages 3 - 6)
Benny And Penny in The Big No-NoBenny and Penny are two squabbling siblings playing together in their backyard. When they discover that a neighbor has moved in next door, they become convinced that this new neighbor must have stolen Benny's missing pail. Curiosity leads them into a big no-no: climbing the fence to see for themselves. They end up meeting their neighbor and discovering the peril in making assumptions. This book is more complex than Little Mouse, with multiple panels per page. The story is inventive and the characters thoughts and dynamic expressions make it come to life. My daughter immediately asked for this be read again, and then again the next night.
by Geoffrey Hayes
NY: Toon Books, 2009
ages 4 - 8
As Francoise Mouly, the founder and editorial director of Toon Books, said, "Comic invite repeated readings, because there's more to find in the images. In the first reading you get the story, but in the second reading you get all the little supporting players, all the way that the theme is conveyed... I think comics are a medium where kids can get readily involved - there's something in it for them that is decipherable." (Scholastic Parent and Child)
Click on these illustrations to read the book online at Toon Book Reader. If you like this story, check out Benny and Penny in Just Pretend.