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Chris Wilson
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Actual quote from a real parent of a 5th grade boy who went through my after-school comic book club in 4th grade: Just wanted you to know that [name redacted] finished the 4th Harry P book and got 19 out of 20 on his AR test...earning him 30 points. Wouldn't have thought this was possible before Comic Book Club. Thank you for making a difference... I teach my students to read comics SLOWLY and I teach them to analyze the pictures and the words together to form meaning. You make an assumption that kids who read comics will not turn to novels. Academic research and observation of comics fans both demonstrate this point to be false. 1. Research shows that comics reading translates into students moving to other forms of reading? 2. Interview a large sample of comics enthusiasts. They are almost exclusively big readers of traditional fiction, spending a lot of their free time reading. Why? Comics breathe life into readers of all levels (Below Basic, Basic, Proficient and Advanced). The boy above was a Proficient reader but hated it. Hated it. He would not touch a book. AFter club, he is reading all forms of literature (comics and traditional) for fun. If you do research on reading motivation, you will quickly discover that "choice" is one of the single most important lynchpins to reading. When students have choice in reading, their reading motivation goes up. Loving stories and reading leads people to more reading. Hating reading, on the other never, has never lead a student toward more reading. It just doesn't work that way. I understand your assumption and it seems reasonable on the surface. But when you look at actual data and study what we know about reading, then it becomes clear that while your assumption is well intended, it is incorrect. I have students of all levels in my Hall of Heroes comic book club: Below Basic, Basic, Proficient and Advanced. I have seen countless Proficient and Advanced students who hatred reading turn into the most voracious readers ever. The librarian commented once that she saw those same kids checking out more. They often checked out comics and traditional texts at the same time. They were reading both at the same time.
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Aug 31, 2011