I’m not sure where I came across this link – probably in the Publisher’s Weekly newsletter.
Slate.com asks “…do you really want the Hulk teaching your kid to read?”
There’s more text in the accompanying slide show than in the page itself; the page sounds rather alarmist but the slideshow is far more reasonable.
What is your answer to their question?
I do want the Hulk teaching my kid to read, though I’d rather have a child with great affection for Spiderman or the X-Men, as those are my heroes of choice. (In fact, considering my choice of a lifemate, I’d say the kid will be genetically predisposed to like Spiderman and the X-Men.) I want anyone my kid will enjoy reading about to teach my kid to read. A kid who is reading anything is, in my opinion, better than a kid who is reading nothing. Bring on the reductio ad absurdum, three year olds learning to read from bodice-rippers or somesuch. I’ll stand by my feelings.
The slideshow raises a good point though: the easy readers based on some of the films aren’t actually very friendly to early readers, lacking in clear visual cues in the illustrations, and containing obscure vocabulary (gamma radiation, anyone?) that kids might not recognize right away. The solution, in my mind, isn’t to banish comic book and movie characters from our children’s books. It’s for concerned parties to find a way to coach the writers of these movie tie-ins in the things a good easy reader requires. Familiar vocabulary. Words that can be sounded out. Simple illustrations that clearly indicate what’s going on, while at the same time provide a jumping-off point for readers to create their own stories.
Is all literature created equal? I know that in terms of quality, some writing is stronger than others. But does it have any inherent moral value, wherein a child reading comic books is somehow less good than a child reading classics? I don’t think so.
What do you think?