Old News of the Day: Comics Help Kids to Love Reading
Canadian researchers have found that, despite educator worries that comics are “unsuitable reading material… associated with poor quality, cheapness and disposability,” young boys who read comics are more likely to read literature in general, and more likely to enjoy reading.
This should come as news to all the middle school teachers I had who wouldn’t let me count Maus or Tintin books on my reading list.
According to the Canadian Council on Learning, which mostly focused on whether comics can be used to bridge the reading gap between boys and girls (hence the male-centric focus):
Boys who read comic books regularly also tend to read more text-based material and report higher levels of overall reading enjoyment, compared to boys who do not read comic books. In fact, some evidence supports the idea that comic books provide a “gateway” to other literary genres. For example, some researchers have argued that the language of comic books can help young people make the transition from informal everyday language to formal written language.
Another popular myth is that the visual element of comic books makes them more suited to immature readers. In fact, comics can help readers develop a number of useful language and literacy skills. The extensive use of images in a comic book requires readers to develop two kinds of literacy: visual literacy and comics literacy.