Wired Magazine has a story about the controversy over the increased use of comic books by librarians and teachers to get kids to read.
In conjunction with Disney, several Maryland elementary schools are launching a comic-based reading program. Meanwhile, high-school teachers and librarians are also pushing comics and graphic novels, saying they’re helpful in getting struggling kids motivated to read.
And not everyone is impressed by the value of comic books. Do-gooders started blasting them as bad influences in the 1950s, the cause of everything from juvenile delinquency to homosexuality and S&M. (Batman and Robin’s special relationship and Wonder Woman’s early bondage fetish didn’t help on those last fronts.)
Maryland educators, led by the state schools superintendent, hope to convince skeptics with hard data. Starting this fall, several elementary schools will adopt a special comics-based curriculum in grades 3 to 5. With donations from Disney, the students will read yet-to-be-chosen comic books, perhaps along the lines of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.
I think that in the post-MTV era, where attention is increasingly fragmented and getting kids to read literally takes imagination and creativity… using comic books to get them to read is essential. And, many librarians and teachers will tell you, it’s also successful.