The case for comic books
Comic books have superhero qualities, offering benefits to everyone across all ages and proficiency levels. So whether you are already a fan of this format or just need a little more convincing to add these books to your collection, it’s time to reconsider how comics support lifelong readers and 21st century learners.
Literacy experts, librarians and children agree that:
Comics inspire and support recreational reading
At home or at school, reading for pleasure gives children the necessary practice to self-select books. The benefits are enormous. In the short run, kids increase their fluency, comprehension and vocabulary development. And over time, reading outweighs socio-economic status in benefiting children’s academic and professional success.
Parents may wonder how to find the time to squeeze a book into their child’s busy schedule. Comics are an excellent option to motivate and prioritize reading independently at home, in school or on the go.
Comics enhance visual literacy
Children are bombarded with images, advertisements and screen time on a daily basis. Learning to navigate our visual world allows us to improve our ability to think more critically, and creatively, through analysis and inference of what we see.
Comics, with their paneling and illustrated formats, are perfect mediums for practicing visual literacy skills. Precise and limited language work with illustrations to improve understanding of visual information. Comics also offer young readers time to reread and deepen their comprehension.
Comics develop cultural and societal awareness
Comic books are excellent at weaving contemporary and historical information into their story lines. They introduce readers to diverse characters and struggles with inequality and social justice. Plots reference realistic settings and events, all helping build a reader’s schema, or background knowledge, helping children better understand information across disciplines.
Comic books promote knowledge and perspectives that both reflect and go beyond children’s experiences, providing opportunities for self-empowerment and empathy.
Sign up for our Book Club newsletter
Get the latest news, events and more from the Los Angeles Times Book Club, and help us get L.A. reading and talking.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.