Do Comics Have a Place in the Classroom?

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By Maryann Yin

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In the “Art on the Mind: Comics and Education” panel at the Brooklyn Book Festival, a group of experts argued that comics deserve a spot in the classroom.

The panelists include Boxers & Saints graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang, The Shark King graphic novelist R. Kikuo Johnson, education expert Professor Barbara Tversky, and New Yorker art editor Françoise Mouly.

Below, we’ve rounded up five reasons the panelists believed that teachers should incorporate comics and graphic novels into their lesson plans…

(1) Many ideas can be expressed best through a visual medium.

(2) Comics encourage readers to notice little details.

(3) There’s a sequential format to comics and some ideas (like math concepts) are best explained sequentially.

(4) Mankind, that includes kids, live in a visual world; comics bridge between media that we watch and media that we read.

(5) When compared to other visual mediums, comics allows for a sense of permanence (as opposed to videos which are very fleeting). Comics give readers a sense of control; they can enjoy and learn at their preferred pace.