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Comic Book Literacy

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Updated. Originally posted in August 2010.

My Spidey Sense had been tingling all night. Suddenly I leapt backward completing a humanly impossible acrobatic feat while landing hard against the wall. The floor where I last stood had been crushed to rubble. Slightly stunned from the impact, my eyes burned from the dust filled smoke as I attempted to get a glance at my attacker. “Focus Spidey.” I could barely make out his silhouette. “No, it can’t be. He was supposed to be dead.” A metallic snake like arm cut through the smoke heading for my throat. Caught off guard I twisted left as I jumped, the razor sharp metal claws slicing along my right shoulder. “Doc Oc! Dammit…too hurt to fight. Feel like I’m going to black out. Got one chance.” “Vincent!” “Wha?” Vincent, come to eat now!” And so I did. I was seven. Besides, my mother was far more formidable than Doc Oc could ever hope to be.

I attributed these creative flights of fancy to comic books. From the moment I picked one up as a kid I was hooked. The artfully drawn characters. The rich vivid colors of the worlds revealed. And of course the story lines that were provided in an easily accessible format. A remarkably effective way to promote learning and literacy to a child as well as spark a kid’s imagination.

Currently screening at film festivals and comic book conventions, “Comic Book Literacy”, a documentary film by Todd Kent about comics in the classroom and beyond takes a closer examination of the impact the genre has made from the past to the present. Below is the Official Movie Trailer:

To learn more about the film, take a look at the official website:
Comic Book Literacy

Other related resources online:
The Comic Book Project
Pow! Using Comic Books to Get Kids Reading

  • Scooby

    Literacy and visual art rolled into one!!

    • Anonymous

      Exactly. Quite the compelling combination! 🙂

  • Dennis Hamilton

    That is exactly how I taught myself to read, with the ancient comic books in my grandmothers closet of goodies for us visiting kids, along with the Big Little books and other books like Tom Sawyer and my first book-length read: Toby Tyler.

    It was a very long time ago, at the end of World War II. The experience served me very well.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for sharing your experience Dennis. How fortunate you were to have a Grandma who actually kept the comic books instead of contributing to the common “horror” story of kids comic books being tossed in the trash. 🙂

  • Chrisgrahammusic

    Comic book literacy is a big part of my classroom. You can often hear the mantra in schools, “you have to pick something that interests you and read every day”, for many kids this is what compels them to read everyday. It teaches kids Inferencing, Using context clues to decode new words, and making Predictions to name a few skills. However, the caveat is of course, monitoring the comics for appropriate content for the age of the reader.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for sharing your classroom experience Chris. You’re absolutely right about monitoring the comics for age appropriate content. Another item on the checklist for parents and teachers. 🙂

  • Beau Raines

    Graphic novels were recommended by my youngest’s second grade teacher. In our schools, they have problems getting boys to love to read and the thought process was reading anything was better than nothing.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for sharing your experience Beau. Comics are but one way to spark an interest in reading. As you mentioned, finding a topic that interests kids is a great place to start.