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A Comic Book Education

by Ronald A. Rowe | May 12th, 2009 | Helpful Hints

picMy son, Max, is in the second grade. Every day, he brings a book to read in the morning while he waits for class to begin. This is encouraged. Reading in all forms is encouraged. Except the day he dared to bring a comic book to school.

What is it that teachers have against comic books? Since I was a child, I’ve heard nothing but bashing of the sequential art medium. I learned to read by reading comic books. While my friends were still reading “See Spot Run”, I was pouring through stories with complex themes of good and evil. Good always won in the end. Evil was punished.

To this day, I credit my early reading experiences with comic books for my vocabulary. I endlessly peppered my parents with “what does that word mean?” as I read of the exploits of Superman, Spider-man, and the rest.

Comics are repeatedly knocked by academics as being too violent and somehow having the capacity to “rot your mind”. It is true that some comics are violent. It is also true that some books are violent. Some comics are wonderfully age-appropriate for kids to read. And I’ve been reading comics for thirty years now with no sign of brain rot.

As with anything else involving your child’s development, parental involvement is required to ensure that his reading material is appropriate for his age and sensibilities. There are comics on the shelf that I would never consider allowing Max to read. There are also comics that I am willing to buy for him every month as a part of a consistent effort to encourage his love of reading (“Tiny Titans” is his favorite).

Comic books do come with a rating guide, like movies and video games. Any book with an “A” (for “all”) rating will be palatable to even the most finicky of parents – guaranteed to be far less objectionable than an episode of “Spongebob Squarepants”.

I know this goes against conventional wisdom. I know you’ve been conditioned to believe comics are below the standard for an educated child. But why not support the development of your child’s imagination and desire to read by picking up a comic book? I’m giving you my personal “no-brain-rot” guarantee.

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