A picture is worth a thousand words. We have heard this saying frequently and we tend to agree with it. As teachers and parents, we strongly believe that reading stories aloud to children and discussing the illustrations in the book facilitate their language skills. However, when it comes to the more ‘informal’ pictures in comic books or comic strips, we are almost in total denial of their role in the natural and spontaneous acquisition of language. In fact, most of us are far too quick to assume that comics will harm the child in numerous ways.
Whatever our mindset towards comics, it is undeniable that the comic is the most widely read type of publication all over the world. Children are immersed in comics without even realising that they are doing any kind of reading. It therefore becomes a very attractive educational tool for the teacher/parent. It can be used to motivate the reluctant student to imbibe the necessary language proficiency. Comics have been maligned by educators long enough!
The author is a teacher educator and language trainer based in Chennai. She can be reached at email@example.com.