Thursday, April 14, 2005


From the Scotsman
Research finds a Dandy way to help young boys improve literacy


TRADITIONAL comics such as the Beano and the Dandy could be the key to encouraging more young boys to read, according to a new survey.

Research published yesterday revealed that while 17 per cent of boys aged between seven and 11 do not read books outside school, 60 per cent regularly read comics.

The survey also revealed that just 5 per cent of boys read for more than an hour a day in their spare time, compared to 17 per cent of girls.

Last night, experts said that encouraging youngsters to read comics could be a vital tool in the fight to improve literacy rates.

Dr Karen McGavock, an expert in children’s literature at Stirling University, said comics had "a wealth of things to offer" young people.

She said: "It is important to expose young people to a variety of different literature, including comics and other, more established, works of fiction.

"Too often comics are seen as a low form of fiction, but that is not the case and so we should be encouraging children to read no matter what the particular format."

The survey, which sought the views of children and parents, was carried out on behalf of the Beano and the Dandy by the research specialists BMRB Access.

It found that 13 per cent of boys fail to read at all during their leisure time, but that 76 per cent spend more than an hour a day watching television.

Ben Gray, of DC Thomson, the publishers of the Beano and the Dandy, said comics had a part to play in encouraging more young people to read.

He said: "Comics should be seen as a stepping stone to get children to enjoy reading in their spare time."
I was pleased, but not surprised, to read that research in Scotland has confirmed that comic book reading is a good idea (your report, 12 April). We have come to the same conclusion in the United States.

Joanne Ujiie and I published a study a few years ago showing that boys aged ten to 14 who were heavy comic book readers liked reading more, read more in general, and read more books than lighter comic book readers, who, in turn, read more than non-comic book readers.

University of Southern California
Los Angeles
California, USA

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Mind you a depressingly small proportion of my customers are kids. Most kids are sitting on the couch rotting their brains with computer games - or am I just an old fogey?

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