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It's Things Like This Why I Love The Eff Out Of Maryland, My Home State

State urges use of comic books with lessons tailored to standards

Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck could become regulars in elementary and middle school classrooms after Maryland's top educator encouraged teachers Thursday to use comic books to inspire students to read.

The state worked with Disney Publishing Worldwide and its educational division last year to develop a pilot project to put Mickey and Donald in eight third-grade classrooms. Disney took Maryland's reading standards and created comics-based lesson plans, incorporating skills students needed to learn, such as how to understand plot and character.

The kids loved it, educators said.

"Reading is such an important activity for all children, and using comic book-related lessons offers teachers an important new tool to draw students into the world of words," said state Superintendent Nancy Grasmick. "This project enhances other work that goes on in the reading class."

Comic books and graphic novels should not replace other forms of literature, but they can be an entry point for some reluctant readers, Grasmick said.

I am a voracious reader, and in the average year I probably end up reading 40+ books and hundreds of magazines, not to mention all the stuff I read online. I would not have gotten there, I believe, if my mom hadn't started me off by taking me to the library every Saturday (Hardy Boys!) and brining home Superman comics for me that she picked up after work.