by Karen Bridson Sunday June 16, 2013

The thing I love most about my job is that I get to research my son every day.

It’s my job to learn what struggles kids face in school, what changes are happening in their brains as they grow and how those struggles and changes affect their emotions, their progress and their potential in life.  

The story research we do here at TVOParents has informed my parenting, and I’d like to think, made me a better parent.

But my son has informed my work just as much as my work has informed my parenting.

Watching him grow and change and choose has given me a plethora of ideas for shows and stories for us to explore here at TVOParents. Case in point is our recent panel discussion on whether or not graphic novels are good enough for the classroom.
My son was a reluctant reader until he was about seven years old. He could read, but preferred not to. That’s about when my mother bought him the first in the series of BONE graphic novels by Jeff Smith. He read it front to back within a few days and was hungry for more. Thrilled, I ran out and bought the rest of the series.

And we haven’t looked back. He is now hooked on reading. I credit Jeff Smith with giving my son the love of reading. Still, my son prefers graphic novels to more text-dense chapter books, which prompted the question for me: what if he never wants to move on to chapter books in his recreational reading? Are these ‘real books?’ Can he use them in the classroom for book reports or is that considered cheating?

And so, I booked a panel of experts, included the best-selling graphic novelist Jeff Smith, to discuss the issue and come to some conclusions.