Every year for the past 12 years, on the first Saturday in May, comic fans around the world swarm their local comic stores to celebrate Free Comic Book Day. This year, over two-thousand stores will give away more than three million comic books for absolutely nothing! Free Comic Book Day is a great opportunity to spread the love of comics to kids; we all know kids who read them are freakin geniuses.
As a school social worker, each year I run Free Comic Book Day events at school libraries in Albany, NY, giving away over 1,000 comics to youth of all ages. (I would totally be the hero of my alternate reality kid-self!) I partner with Albany, NY’s greatest comic shop Earthworld Comics, whose owner J.C. Glindmyer has been a big advocate of getting comic books in schools to support literacy and bring in new readers.
Here is why you should force your kids to read comics:
Kids Who Read Comics End Up Reading Other Stuff
I would not know how to read if I did not read comic books growing up. Today, I still read a crapload of comics, but I find myself reading big super-fancy books also, with lots of words! (OK, most are about comic history, but they still count.) Once kids start reading comics their addiction spins out of control. Next thing you know they are reading books on history, classics and other uppity stuff. A study by Dorrel and Carroll proved that having comics in a library’s collection increased overall library use by 82%, including a 30% increase in the circulation of non-comic materials.
Kids Who Read Comics Will Be Super-Smart Masterminds
A study by Hayes and Ahrens in 1988, proved that comic books have more rare vocabulary than adult books. Want more proof; a 1993 study in the Journal of Child Language concluded that comics introduce kiddos to twice as many words as average children’s books and five times as many words than in adult-child conversations. To this day, all the big extravagant words I use I read in comic books. I impress folks when I use uppity words like amalgam or excelsior! (Anyone who can tell me what these words mean in the comment section will receive their very own official UnleashTheFanboy.com No Prize)
Kids Who Hate Reading Will Become Hooked on Comics
Even kids that are considered “poor readers” will often love reading comic books. Comics are fast-paced and way more exciting for reluctant readers. Give a comic to a kid who never does his or her homework and they may never stop reading.
It’s an Easy Way to Learn English
Many kids around the world learn English through comics and benefit from the support of graphics. If you are pro-immigrant rights; show your support by giving the kids comics. If you think Americans should only speak English or that American-speaking countries should control the world, you too should give foreign kids comics so they can learn! Republican and Democrats unite for the love of spreading comics to immigrants!
Even Special Needs Kiddos Love Reading Comics
Many special needs students will benefit from the support of illustrations. Comics are proven to help Autistic students with emotional context they may miss in written narrative.
Comic Readers End Up Writing Their Own Comic strips, and End Up Being Incredible Writers
Most of us as teens, created our own comics starring incredible superheroes in spectacular universes. When kiddos write their own stories, they learn about story structure, what a point of view is, how to write dialogue, what a protagonist is, and other super-clever stuff.
A Healthy Dose of Comics Will Ensure Your Brood is Not An Evil Criminal
The superheroes are the modern day mythological figures that instill morals and values into our kids. I learned ethics from Magneto, Professor X and Spider-Man (ok, mainly from Magneto).
Nobel Peace Prize Winners Grew up on Comic Books
Bishop Desmond Tutu, noted author and recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize, stated the following:
“My father was the headmaster of a Methodist primary school…one of the things I am very grateful to
him for is that, contrary to conventional educational principles, he allowed me to read
comics. I think that is how I developed my love for English and reading.”
Reading Comics Will Make Your Kid President of the United States
President Obama is a fan of Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian! “…In addition to collecting Spider-Man comics, Obama would sometimes draw the hero in class.” The connection is clear; if your kid reads comic books they will rule the world.
So make sure to bring you kids to Free Comic Book Day. Tell your local libraries and schools that you want them to stock up on comics. Schools and libraries can run their own Free Comic Book Day events. All they need to do is contact their local comic store a few months prior and they will help them set up an event. Visit http://www.freecomicbookday.com/StoreLocator for list of participating comic stores! Free Comic Book Day is next Saturday baby!
“Everybody loves comics, everybody just doesn’t realize it yet.”- J.C. Glindmyer, owner of Earthworld Comics, 537 Central Ave, Albany, NY 12206
Jay Deitcher, LMSW(
@mrdeitcher) embraces the term MUTANT and proudly represents his MUTANT brothers and sisters. He is an educator on comic history and runs successful Free Comic Book Day events yearly. You can see a listing of his incredible articles and his highly energetic videos at JayDeitcher.com.