The world is throwing us many challenges at the moment, one of them being exactly how to keep kids engaged with learning while they’re stuck at home, missing their friends and teachers. It’s not easy – but funny books might just come to the rescue.

The role of funny books in lockdown

During lockdown, funny books are even more of a lifeline than usual. While the restrictions can be horrendously hard for us grown-ups, their impact on children is just as strong – and they haven’t had the life experience to have learned how to cope with difficult situations yet. It’s a hugely stressful time for them, and funny books can provide a break for them just as they can for us.

In addition, keeping up their interest in learning when they’re stuck at home – either with online lessons or overwrought parents trying to do twelve things at once – is a major challenge and unfortunately, they’re more likely than ever to resent lessons and turn off to learning. Offering them a funny book will help them keep up on their reading without even realising they’re doing it.

Why do we need funny books?

One of the most amazing things about children is their ability to make up pretend games on the spot and completely lose themselves in the world they’ve created.

Often this translates into an automatic love of reading and the child happily dives into whichever world is presented to them – from Molly Moon’s hypnotic adventures to the swashbuckling excitement of Treasure Island.

However, many children – though their powers of imagination and love of make-believe might be just as strong – can’t get into reading. It feels like a chore, something boring they have to do while sitting down when they could be outside running around or doing much more interesting things like making messes.

This is where funny books come into their own. Comedy is essential for all of us, offering an emotional relief and escape from the stresses of life – but for kids, it can have the additional benefit of getting them into reading.

Why are funny books good for reluctant readers?

Funny books for kids have always been around, but this sub-genre has come into its own in recent years. Its popularity stems partly from structural features that make funny books easier to read:

  1. They tend to have shorter sentences, which reluctant readers find easier to deal with
  2. They often have illustrations, which helps readers to follow the story and breaks up big, daunting chunks of text
  3. Many funny children’s books are simply shorter; although a child might read a long series  (such as the Wimpy Kid series), the fact that each individual element is short makes a big difference psychologically
  4. Funny stories often have simple plots, making them easy to follow and enjoy

Aside from these more technical elements, funny books teach children to associate reading with fun and laughter, rather than concentration, pressure, and school. This stops reading being an intimidating or boring task and turns it into something to look forward to and enjoy, paving the way for the child to move on to other types of books willingly when they’re ready rather than being pushed into it. There’s no need to turn reading into a chore over lockdown (or ever) – just dig out some funny books and you’ll be well on your way to having a book-loving child.

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