One of the coolest attributes of graphic literature in education is that it’s fun!. There, I said it- graphic literature is fun. Even the harshest books about war, racism and other evils of humankind have a basic quality of fun, similar to sitting with family and friends in a kitchen or around a campfire, sharing stories, good and bad, but very real. These are the kinds of stories that engage the listeners, capture their imagination, open their minds, educate and entertain. These stories capture and transmit the histories, observations, culture, and even recipes found in oral traditions everywhere, all the while promoting and encouraging literacy, and visual thinking. One of my research subjects, a high school teacher in a very low income area described how he has his students read anything at all for the first 30 minutes of his class, every day. Besides the books in his classroom, he also has several boxes of comic comics from his own collection (and brought in several boxes for the school library. He observed that even with books, most of the students read comics. They will read the first books of a series, get hooked, and read as many books of the series that are in the classroom. When they get to the point where the series continues, but the books are not in the classroom, they want more, so they trek to the library to continue reading the series. For many of the students, this is the first time in their lives that they have entered a library. So while improving their reading skills, they are introduced to books, and often transition to those (while continuing their love for comics). So as you see, comics are a gateway drug to literacy, and all that comes with it, such as critical thinking, creativity, and more!
Next week- practical skills acquired from graphic literature, as well as comments about some books recently read.