Is Comic Book Reading Beneficial for Children?

5:20 PM

Is comic book reading beneficial for children? Comics has been under fire from many quarters with regards to its suitability as a reading material for kids. While many parents of today's modern children are thankful enough that there is some reading activity happening at all in their children's lives, others have been quick to dismiss comics as way too inferior compared to books as we know it.

History of Comic Books

Comic Books or simply Comics is a visual medium that combines images and text presented in juxtaposed panels that serve as scenes of the story. Early comic book versions came from the US, Europe, and Japan. Although they did not travel exactly the same path due to the difference in the general nature of their contents, they maintained their similarity in the manner of physical presentation.

A book made up of comics content is usually referred to as a graphic novel. By its broad definition in dictionaries, a graphic novel is a fictional story presented in the format of comic strips but in the form of a book. The use of the comic book and the graphic novel as a reading material for children has been the subject of much debate throughout the history of their existence.

Pros of Comic Book Reading

1. It is a way to encourage children who are averse to reading because of the perceived complexity of reading books.

2. Children tend to continue reading if their initial experiences are enjoyable, something which comic book reading is said to provide to them.

3. It exposes children to another medium of reading, encouraging flexibility in learning processes.

Cons of Comic Book Reading

1. There is a belief that children who read comic books do not actually learn reading because they simply look at the images.

2. Comics has to contend with its reputation of containing materials that are not child-friendly such as graphic violence, sexual intonations, and distortion of real life.

3. There is the concern that comic book contents are generally superficial and shallow.

My Say

My children getting their free comics at the Halloween ComicFest

My brothers and my husband were all avid collectors of super hero comics during their younger days. In fact, even I had an "Archie" collection at some point of my young life. Did these comic books destroy our young minds? I hardly think so but this is not to say that the concerns of those who are against comics as a reading material for kids are absolutely not valid.

That said, I have no problems with my children imagining about having the powers of super heroes as long as they are not allowed to carry it to the extremes like jumping out of a window to test their flying capabilities. However, in the same manner as parents monitor what tv shows and movies  their children are watching, what games they are playing, and what kind of books they are reading, guiding children in their choice of comic books to read goes with the territory. To my mind, reading comic books is simply a part of allowing children to be children. Parents just need to be parents as they guide their children along the way as they encourage exposure to all possible forms of reading materials.

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