Learners with poor reading skills are less able to acquire knowledge through text. Graphic novels may enhance reading comprehension skills owing to fewer words, more pictures, and an engaging storyline. This study considered the reading skills of 188 Chinese–English bilingual undergraduates, comparing their reading comprehension performance after reading pure texts and graphic novels. Results showed that students exhibited greater reading comprehension performance after reading graphic novels regardless of their varying cognitive styles and prior English reading abilities. In addition, students who read the graphic novels expressed a greater interest in exploring the topic further, as indicated by the number of further references they selected. Taking all of the findings together, the present study demonstrates that presentation mode plays an important role in 2nd language reading comprehension development. Therefore, educators need a more systematic way of educating preschool through Grade 12 students for visual literacy training. Copyright © 2016 Taylor & Francis.