Comics Just As Good As Books

Growing up I hated reading books and even to this day it’s a struggle for me to make it through one.  However, as a kid I’d go through a thick pile of comic books spending entire days reading through my recent purchases.  I consistently scored well above my age when it came to any test in vocabulary, even though I barely touched the classics.  A new study says that in fact comics might have done me good.

Comic books may not be far behind standard reading material in regards to impact of vocabulary and future inclination toward reading books.  University of Illinois researcher Professor Carol Tilley described comics as “just as sophisticated” as other reading materials and indicated that children benefited ”at least as much” from comics as they do from regular books.

A lot of the criticism of comics and comic books come from people who think that kids are just looking at the pictures and not putting them together with the words.

Some kids, yes. But you could easily make some of the same criticisms of picture books – that kids are just looking at pictures, and not at the words.

Tilley also said:

Although they’ve long embraced picture books as appropriate children’s literature, many adults – even teachers and librarians who willingly add comics to their collections – are too quick to dismiss the suitability of comics as texts for young readers.

Any book can be good and any book can be bad, to some extent. It’s up to the reader’s personality and intellect. As a whole, comics are just another medium, another genre.

The research on comics was published in the journal School Library Monthly.

Update: A search for Assistant Professor Tilley came up with this website where her thesis is listed as “Of Nightingales and Supermen: How Youth Services Librarians Responded to Comics Between the Years 1938 and 1955”.