The Value of Targeted Comic Book Readers

Research has indicated that a noticeable gain in literacy skills have been achieved via reading outside of the classroom. Moreover, those students who spend the extra time and effort to engage in those reading activities often overshadow students who are limited to just course related material in the classroom.

This specific study indicated that one of the common reasons for failure for students to excel in reading is due to insufficient time of reading at school. This factor is especially true for refugees and migrants students because their busy routine and lack of contact with the English language outside of school greatly hampers their progress.

A solution presented for this issue was the use of comics and illustrated books. They chose these books because they are readily available and easily cater to the problem of providing a relevant comprehension level materials to the reader along with specific purposeful and engaging themes both inside and outside the classroom. Furthermore, the author notes that contextualized vocabulary and simple grammar make for a great learning medium.

In this study, the observers noticed that comic books fostered English comprehension and vocabulary expansion for students . They observed“…an improvement in cognitive function or emotional state, lead(ed) to perceived performance enhancement, for example, improvements in memory, listening, or confidence” (Hammond, 2012, p. 197) .

The authors also noted that audio created by using Audacity, which is free recording and audio editing software, was also found to be an extremely helpful source of learning for students. These “read along” books proved to be a great resource to help the students follow along and comprehend comics faster. In the end, the researchers employed different strategies to test the students and found that “motivation seems to play an important part in the perceived availability of time, and from our study, it appears that motivation is linked to interest and perceived usefulness” (p.199). Moreover, the perceived performance enhancements were a direct result of the improvement in an emotional state as well as the cognitive abilities of the participants.
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If you are part of an institution that shares our passion for the use of educational comics, you can also contact Learn To Read Comics. We can facilitate not only a generous donation of appropriate comic books and graphic novels but also include notebooks, pencils, erasers and dictionaries for your program. These services are provided free of cost.


Hammond, Kay, Danaher, Katherine (2012). The Value of Targeted Comic Book Readers, ELT Journal, v66, n2, p193-204