Today as part of our ongoing feature on comics in New Zealand education, we’re joined by the New Zealand children’s author, editor and educator Raymond Huber. You can find out more about him and his great books, including the Ziggy Bee stories, at http://www.raymondhuber.co.nz/
Here’s Raymond on ‘Comics in the Classroom.’
The thought of comic books in the classroom is frowned upon by many teachers and parents. Comics still have an image problem with many adults – a mistrust of the comic format based on suspicions about quality, content, and most of all, literary value. There might be a grain of truth in the first two: comics used to be cheaply produced, and they can contain offensive material. Some comics do take the Readers Digest approach to literature, but there are also many that now take the comic form to its own artistic heights, especially comic picture books and graphic novels.
Why use comics in the classroom?
Perhaps the best reason is that children love reading stories in the comic form. Consider the Tintin books, selling over 120 million copies, and public libraries often put a limit on withdrawals of the books. Given a choice in class, many children will grab comic picture books before novels. And most of these readers will be boys – another great reason for using comics in class.