Reasons for Using and Teaching with Comic Books
With fast-paced action, powerful images, and dramatic plots that feature heroic adventures, contemporary comic books address themes that are important to young adults, including issues of acceptance, nonconformity, prejudice, social injustice, coming of age, triumph over adversity, and personal growth. In comic books, adolescents can explore current and historical events, legends and tall tales, mythology, and visual versions of classic novels and dramas. Some comics are even designed to raise social consciousness and interest in issues such as famine relief and environmental preservation, while others have anti-drug or sex education themes. While some young adults may turn to comics to find familiar characters and cultural icons such as Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man, others are simply looking to enjoy a good story.
Many educators have discovered that they can interest reluctant readers by including comic books in libraries and on reading lists. In addition, comic books appeal to many poor readers and visual learners because, in comics, readers are expected to apply different “reading” skills. No longer following a single line of text, the reader must let the pictures direct the reading. Comics can also help adolescents develop their language arts skills and expand their vocabularies while conveying educational messages and serving as a bridge to other types of literature.
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