This year, Saturday, May 5, celebrates Free Comic Book Day. It’s one of the biggest events of the year for the comic book industry and a time when many stores give out free comics as a way to spark interest in young readers.
There was a time when many scoffed at the idea of comics being good for youngsters. But these days, many educators and professionals think they serve a useful purpose. In fact, more and more, the likes of Spiderman, Wonder Woman and the X-Men can be found gracing the shelves of school libraries throughout America. And with good reason.
Comics and graphic novels can be a great way to build literacy. The combination of colorful art and words is attractive to even the most reluctant of young readers. And once they’re hooked, those readers build confidence and often feel encouraged to keep going. Their vocabulary gets stronger, and they develop a greater use of the English language. And the images in comics and graphic novels can also help strengthen kids’ understanding of context, meaning and emotion in literature.
Accomplished readers enjoy comics, too. Many of these little literary gems—especially graphic novels—have complex storylines and often deal with complicated issues. Today, this form of art is widely considered on par with what was traditionally held as “quality” literature.
Comics and graphic novels are even being used to help teach such subjects as history, science, social studies, English and art. And teachers are also using the comic book/graphic novel format to help students develop their own creative skills. It’s proven to be a great way to brainstorm ideas and express concepts that couldn’t be done with just words or images alone. The Comic Book Project, started in New York City, is a great example of this and has had a positive impact on hundreds of thousands of children since it began in 2001.
At Infinite Energy, we support childhood education. And we’re happy educators continue to find new ways to make a difference in learning. If you have the chance on Saturday, check with your local comic stores to see if they’re taking part in Free Comic Book Day. Then pay them a visit.