By Rebecca Yee
Growing up in the 80s and 90s, I had a different experience than kids today. I waited weekly for the next newspaper to see what happens in that Peanuts or Garfield comic strip. I waited weekly to see the next episodes of the TGIF line-up. Now, they don’t have to wait for the next thing with streaming services like Netflix or Hulu and online comics. The one thing I can totally relate to with kids today is imagination.
With the rise of fantasy movies from Marvel, we all enjoy the fantasy aspect in a world where anything can happen. Imagination brings us all together.
The man and legend, Stan Lee, who started it all in 1961 with his comic books. Stan Lee, along with Jack Kirby, started with the Fantastic Four then going on to Spider-Man, X-Men, Hulk, and Thor.
Stan Lee has always been an inspiration to me. Creating magical and inspirational worlds where anything is possible, that have helped make my imagination soar even more.
So, what does this have to do with reading? Well, comic books have mostly been looked at as a second-rate form of literature. Having so many illustrations and little text, they have been considered less educational.
Here are 5 reasons that comic books can actually help children learn better from OurKids.net:
1) Reluctant Readers can Picture Plot Points- The ability to follow and then comment upon plot is central to the development of childhood literacy. Children who are struggling with reading can easily discover the world behind the book, as their more proficient peers do, but can do so with the assistance of a comic book or graphic novel images.
2) Expansion of Imagination- Comic books have a unique element that anything can happen. Unpredictability and magic still exist. The child can grow their imagination with the unstructured world of story arcs and plot twists.
3) Improve Students Grades and Test Scores- Canadian Achievement Tests both feature comic strips and sequential narratives in their assessment of reading and writing. All of the tenets of Language Arts: plot, character, conflict, mood, setting, and even vocabulary can be bolstered by the reading and creation of comic books. Male readers would especially be aided by their continued exposure to this genre.
4) Improvement of Memory Skills- With the world becoming very media/visually literate, someone who is learning English or a reluctant reader/writer could use the comic book as a means of engaging a sense of prediction and revision at the same time, by following sequential design, yet being able to visually flip back and restore the immediate visual hit again and again.
5) Introduction to Non-Linear Storytelling - Many comic book writers tend to construct story arcs, over long periods of time. This requires readers to serialize their approach and wait a few weeks for the next installment. Charles Dickens did the same with his work. This affords the reader some time to contemplate the story. Even though the text might be presented in a chronological and sequential text-to-image presentation, the story arc can jump from past to present, and to future, all in the same narrative.
While not all comic books are suited for children and teens, and some are written for adults, by adults; the truth remains: they are a powerful and useful genre for the development of a student's capacity to comprehend and analyze literature, while dramatically improving their proficiency in Language Arts. (Read the full article here)
This is why I have created a series of comic books specifically geared towards younger readers, approximately ages 5-10. The series is called Thor’s Dreamland Adventures and follows a dog named Thor as he drifts off to sleep and goes into his dream world where anything is possible! 😍 Get your copy HERE today!