In talking with my teacher/librarian friends, and even just people with kids, I am so hurt when people discount reading magazines, blogs, and graphic novels. It's all reading people! I often tell the story of my first library's break room. Here were dozens of highly educated people, surrounded by the great literary works of our time, and what did we read in the break room? Us Weekly, Life and Style, and if we were feeling really classy, People. Seriously-we loved a good scandal and loved the gossip pages.
If your kid is reading nothing but skateboard magazines or pony books or the back of the cereal box, that's a great jumping off point! Encourage that reading! For the skateboarder, try to sneak in some adventure fiction-or better yet, a choose your own adventure. For that pony-loving girl (we all went through that phase), try to work in classic horse book, or something newer like Riding Freedom. And for that cereal box reader-which often has great games and trivia-a puzzle book, trivia, or joke book. Granted none of these options are great literature, but baby steps! If you encourage children to read what they love, regardless of style or substance, and push them one step outside their comfort zone, eventually you will have a genuine reader on your hands.
I will fully admit that the books I remember most from childhood were paperback series books. They were super cheap and easy to buy from Scholastic book orders, so that's what I read. I didn't really come to love all things children's lit until I started working in a library in high school. Now, my nose is always in a book, so much so that my poor hubby knows that dinner might be late since I have to finish this one chapter.
In conclusion, let them read what they want! If you have a teacher or librarian that is fighting you on this and not counting graphic novels or magazines as reading, fight back. Yes, your child will have to write plenty of book reports and do lots of required reading, but for fun or silent reading time, encourage them to read anything that interests them. Beauty is in the eye of the reader.
Now go, read-read anything you like!