Comic books can be a great way to engage the reluctant reader. The format is enticing because the text is embedded within the images and seem to take a backseat to the art. Children will become wrapped up in the little text boxes and comic art and be finished reading before they realize they were reading at all. When I was young I loved to read Archie Comics and to this day I love the art found inside of comic books.
The Comic Book Project is a program of Center for Educational Pathways that engages children in the creative process of drawing and writing a comic book and then publishes the comic book. Here is the snippet about them from their About page:
ABOUT THE COMIC BOOK PROJECT
The Comic Book Project engages children in a creative process leading to literacy reinforcement, social awareness, and character development, then publishes and distributes their work for other children in the community to use as learning and motivational tools
The objectives of the project are threefold. (About The Comic Book Project)
1) Academic Reinforcement: Children reinforce and improve their literacy skills through the arts by engaging in a fun, project-oriented, and creative process.
2) Social and Character Development: Children use the project as a pathway to personal understanding and cultural tolerance, which are illustrated by their own artistic creations and displayed in a variety of formats.
3) Community Building: Children spread positive messages to other children and adults in the community via the distribution of their work to community outlets such as schools, after-school programs, and community centers.
These are great objectives for so many reasons. I love sociology and the way we interact with each other in day to day life. As human beings we tend to stick to what we are used to. For example, at every wedding I have ever been to each family sticks to their own tables. They tend not to interact with the people they don’t know unless by accidentally bumping into them on the dance floor. In elevators everyone climbs on and stares at the doors or watches the numbers. The first person enters and walks to the back corner, the second enters and stands as far away from the first as the elevator allows. If people defy this unwritten code of conduct it causes discomfort. The same can be said for many public situations. Integration is something we struggle with without even realizing it. A project like this that allows art to integrate communities and teach tolerance is wonderful.
Various cultures intrigue me and I love to see culture blending taking place as we learn about each other. I come from a pretty mixed background, like most Americans. I’m half Italian, some Irish, some Welsh and some Native American. I’m about as pale as can be while my sister has the same olive toned skin as my mother. What blows my mind is the snap decisions we make in our heads about people before we even know them or their story. Through books we become one. Through books we can see through the eyes of a different culture. We can feel what another person feels. We can see what it is like, even just for a moment, to walk in someone else’s shoes.
As with most things please review any comic book your child may want to read before purchasing it. Not all comic books are for kids and some of the imagery in comics can be very inappropriate for certain audiences.
This project is wonderful. We are all different but we are all amazing. Here is how you can contribute to this wonderful program that teaches literacy through the visual arts.
Please visit the student galleries to see the great work these kids are doing. There is also a donation section where you can donate to support the program.