Monday, December 13, 2004

Maryland tests statewide comics program

I sense a trend developing. The Washington Post looks at a planned statewide program in Maryland to use comics to reach reluctant readers in public schools:
"In America, people have loved comic books, but nobody has looked at the value of it as a reading material," said Darla Strouse, executive director of partnerships for the Maryland Department of Education. "What we're saying is, this is an outstanding approach to teaching reading."

Pilot programs are underway in some parts of Maryland. Fifth-graders at an elementary school in Harford County, northeast of Baltimore, are reading a comic book featuring Donald Duck and another about women in science. High school students in Carroll County are creating cartoons in art class and studying Batman: The Dark Knight Returns for an English course in mythology.

... "You see kids reading comic books, buying comic books, and they seem totally engrossed," State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick said. "It looks like there's really some potential here." She said comic books are not meant to replace traditional reading materials but rather to be used as a supplement.