While I know the theories of reading every day to a child, showing them you love to read and so on, I've found that there is a lot more to it, to foster a love of reading in a child.
Having had one avid reader and one reluctant reader, both with the same access to books, and same number of stories read to them at bedtime, I'm curious to know, what's the best way to get kids reading?
Start reading with kids at an early age. Read with them rather than read to them. Explore the pictures on the pages even if they don't know the words, ask them what they think will happen next, allow them to anticipate, dream and imagine. Make reading an exciting moment of the day and they will naturally learn to love reading.
Getting kids to read is all about keeping them engrossed. They need to love what they are reading. Some kids will just love stories, pretty much any story will do. That was me as a kid. Reluctant readers take a little more work, they need to find the genre, or maybe even the writer, that really does it for them. Once they find that something they were missing, it will take a little time and coaxing to make reading a habit. Once the habit has been formed, you've won!
Talk to your child about the library and what it is all about. Take them to the library so that they can get their very own library card, make this an exciting adventure. Allow them to explore the library and read some of the books with them while you are there. Try to visit the library once a week. Many libraries run free story time sessions that are great also.
In order to get kids involved into reading, or anything else, you have to become a role model yourself. I am noticing that as my children are growing older, reading to them is a good option, but they pick their own books at the library. I read a lot and visit the library frequently, so they understand the value of reading. However, I wouldn't force it on them as their interests do keep changing.
Read to them as much as possible from an early age and try and find books that reflect their interests. It helps if you can find books to read to them that you enjoy too as they can tell if your heart's not really in it.
While comic books are a gateway to reading for some kids The Walking Dead, as in the picture above, is definitely not for children! It is an adult comic, full of violence, some sex and very dark storylines (rape, torture, child murder).
There are teens (16-18) that don't read much, and I count them as children. I agree it's an adult themed comic but I would think it's perfect to reignite or ignite the unenthusiastic reader. I know plenty of adults that don't read too. I think desire to read needs to be constantly fed, or it ceases. I think it's not just young children that need to be encouraged. I actually think it's harder with older children, but no less important.
Yes, I'm well aware that there are teens who are reluctant readers. It's your call but personally I wouldn't give TWD to a teenager. Have you read it? I am guessing you haven't if you can describe it as "perfect" to give to a teenager. It's really full on. Not so much in the beginning but maybe four books in some stuff happens that made me give up reading it in disgust. We are talking rape, torture, sadism, the works. Yes, comics can encourage teens to read, but there are plenty of more age appropriate comics you could use instead, like some DC or Marvel, Strangers in Paradise, Platinum Grit (now only a webcomic, but awesome, look it up), Saga, Rocket Girl... There's plenty out there if you go looking.
An excerpt from the plot summary on Wikipedia. Spoiler warning:
"Rick, Glenn, and Michonne, leave the prison to investigate a nearby helicopter crash and stumble upon Woodbury: a survivor town ruled by an insane tyrant called The Governor, who kills other groups of survivors to take their supplies and keep their severed heads as trophies. When his visitors won’t tell him where they came from, he imprisons them, cutting off Rick's right hand and forcing Glenn to listen to him sadistically raping Michonne. The Governor eventually allows the three to escape, hoping to tail them back home. But on her way out of town, Michonne captures, tortures and mutilates the Governor." Lovely educational stuff, no? We can do better than that.
I have read it. The incident in the 100th issue is shocking (past what you described) and I think it's the first time in about 5 years that I've had a reaction from a book. The point of the things that happen, is to say 'if there are no rules in society, what happens?' That's the discussion point. I think if you both read it, adult and teen, then talk about it, it's fine. At no point are they saying any of that stuff is okay - what you are watching is the slide of the "good people" to behaviour that we mark as bad.
I also don't think any of the bad behaviour is glorified - I think it's made clear it's not right, even if it's done by a previously considered 'good' character. I think a 16 year old is old enough to understand that. I think it's more simplistic than something like DMZ, which has subtler nuances on morals, thus maybe less ideal for that age group, or Watchmen where there is no revenge for the rape.
I am a prolific reader and it just seemed natural to want to share my love of books with my child. I started reading to her when she was in my womb. It just seemed the right thing to do.She came into this world wanting to hear my voice and the magic that comes from sharing a good story.