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Encouraging Boys to Read More With Comics

Once in a while, it’s nice and kinda humbling to read/hear catch phrases you thought you came up with all on your own emitting from the oral orifices of others. Case in point is Thursday’s piece in the Washington Post about children’s author Jon Scieszka, author of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales and the Time Warp Trio series, being named the first Ambassador of Reading by the Library of Congress.

Scieszka who runs Guys Read, a web-based nonprofit whose mission is to increase literacy among boys by motivating them to read “by connecting with texts they will want to read.” Texts, for example, like comics… Scieszka ought to know what he’s talking about: In a former life, he waged war on the front lines of literacy battlefield as an elementary school teacher.

What caught my attention was the latest in a growing number of writers and experts who promote comics as a means to encourage boys and girls to read more. Sciezka believes teachers and parents need to expand their preconceived notions of what constitutes good reading material to include science-fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels and whatever it takes

No doubt, reading the monthly adventures of Thor, the God of Thunder in Journey Into Mystery at the tender age of 8 spurred my interest in mythology (no doubt Ray Harryhausen’s Jason and the Argonauts helped too), as much as watching George Pal’s War of the Worlds encouraged me to read the infinitely better H.G. Wells novel.

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