Lucas Maxwell posted a great (and friendly) reminder the other day, that even though comics are enjoying mainstream popularity on television and at the local multiplex, many parents and teachers still think reading graphic novels don’t really count as reading. They aren’t real books. As though Watchmen is easily equated with The Very Hungry Caterpillar because they both contain pictures. CBLDF supporters know this isn’t the case, but it is probably a familiar argument to many comic book fans.
Maxwell currently works as school librarian and has previous worked in the public sector as a teen librarian, two jobs where keeping young adults interested and frequenting the library is a priority. And through a mixture of scientific fact and anecdotal evidence, he reminds the reader that the most importan thing is that people read, not what they read.
“[A] study conducted at California State University, Northridge, found that for students to improve their vocabulary they must be exposed to as many complex or difficult words as possible. Their research found that the ‘language used by comics is far more advanced than that the oral communication of college graduates, and uses almost twice as many rare or difficult words!”
As Maxwell points out there have been countless studies that look at reading as a whole and point to it improving people’s mental health, overall intellegence, and emotional intellengence. Reading teaches empathy, and creates a way to escape the stress of every day life – and if you don’t think kids are stressed, think again. Reading is great. All reading is great. So as Maxwell so perfectly concludes,
“So, if for someone who struggles with reading, or who wants to challenge themselves, or who just wants to relax and forget about the dumpster fire that is the current social and political landscape, reading for pleasure means reading comics, let them read comics.”
Check out the full piece A Friendly Reminder that Comic Books Still Count as Reading, it’s very much worth the read.