Teaching in a Bubble
Nancy S. Grasmick, Maryland's superintendent of schools, has fond memories of reading comic books as a child. She liked Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse, and especially enjoyed Archie.
Nancy S. Grasmick, Maryland's superintendent of schools, has fond memories of reading comic books as a child. She liked Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse, and especially enjoyed Archie. "I'd share comics with my friends," she says, "and they'd share theirs with me, which was wonderful because it was focused on reading."
Now, Grasmick has become a leading proponent for putting comic books in classrooms. Starting this fall, Maryland schools will have the option of teaching Spider-Man along with Tom Sawyer in grades three and up. The plan already is getting a try-out in a few counties, while a task force of educators decides which comics fit well with the state curriculum.
Critics say the idea is wild enough to make even the Incredible Hulk blush. But Grasmick hopes comics will engage reluctant readers-- especially boys, who read at much lower rates than girls. As with literature, comics can expand a child's vocabulary and be analyzed for character and plot development.
And not all comic titles have to do with superheroes. Maryland is considering teaching Art Spiegelman's graphic novel "Maus," a Pulitzer Prize-winning story about the Holocaust. "There's a certain legitimacy to comics that has not been acknowledged," Grasmick says.
Maryland's comic curriculum will be voluntary, so any school district can opt not to use it. And Grasmick stresses that no school is doing away with traditional children's books. "We're not just handing out comic books," she notes, "we're developing thoughtful lessons to go along with it."
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.
LATEST EDUCATION HEADLINES
State Charter School Systems Ranked in New Report1 hour ago
Teachers on Strike in Illinois District1 hour ago
The Nation’s Most Ambitious Effort to Fix Failed Schools1 day ago
Detroit Public Schools Vote to Fire Emergency Manager, Again1 day ago
White House Gives Millions to Colleges That Link Job Training to Industry Needs2 days ago
The Promising, but Complicated, Impact of State-Funded Preschool2 days ago