One Writer’s Journey

December 12, 2016

Comic Books in the Classroom

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:55 am
Tags: , ,

lunar-landscape-804147_1920I’m a very visual person.  Because of this, I’ve always been a little surprised that I don’t like comic books and graphic novels more than I do.  My son believes its because I haven’t found the right graphic novels. “You like some of them a lot.”  And he’s right.  It either clicks with me or it doesn’t.

Oddly enough, I’m the same way with “regular” books.  I either like it or I don’t.  That said, I’m better at picking novels that I like I think in part because I know what genres I like — historic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mysteries and thrillers/espionage.  I know just as well what I don’t like — romance and the vast majority of self-help.

I also grew up in a culture that didn’t encourage us to read comic books.  Sure, my grandparents bought me some but these were Scrooge McDuck and that sort of thing.  Comic books were fine until I became a strong reader and “outgrew” them.  Smart kids, after all, did not read comics.  If they did, you’d find comics in the classroom.

And I did, but only rarely.  Now and again some enterprising teacher would bring in a handful of classic comic books.  I think that they brought these in for the reluctant readers.  I may not have been reluctant but I loved these comics.

If you haven’t seen it yet, Gene Yang recorded a really interesting TED Talk (see below) on comic books.  He was a teacher for almost 20 years.  He gave lectures (no, really!).  He left video lectures when he knew he was going to have a sub.  His students pointed out just how boring these videos were.  But he also drew comic lectures and these went over incredibly well.  Why? They presented a self-paced visual learning opportunity.  His students could read as quickly or slowly as they needed to read to absorb the information.

He also discussed how comic books went from being popular with teachers to being kept out of most classrooms.  Once again, sloppy research is to blame.  His lecture is only about 10 minutes long so take the time to watch it and learn about how comic books can help young readers learn.

–SueBE

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