Unlike many people I started reading at an early age. I was beyond the 1st grade level for reading before I even started Kindergarden. Now, naturally Mom gets some credit here as she read to me often and helped me identify words and such, but I also spent a lot of time at my grandparents home where there were two aunts and an uncle not much older than I. Whenever I was over, I would raid their stacks of comic books. Frankly, I would read pretty much anything I could get my hands on, but the comics where by far the most interesting for a four or five year old. Four color artwork withn little word ballons that told stories comperable to that of the Greek gods and heroes (I also got into mythology at an early age, but comics came first.) Many years later I was tested for vocabulary knowledge and usage and placed in the upper 20% for Michigan. My older step-sister was always down on me for using “Big Words.” Well, I maintain that I learned most of those big words from reading comic books. As such, I think we should be using comics as a teaching resource. Start the younger kids off with Casper and Richie Rich, move up to Archie, then into the big leagues with the various super-hero titles. The hard-core stuff most often found in the independant imprints can wait for much later. But the cover-price puts the comics out of reach for the younger readers. If I had my way there would be a government subsidy to reduce the price for comics aimed at the younger readers. Instead of paying farmers not to grow crops, pay the publishers to put out cheaper comics to get kids reading. The farmer can just go back to growing crops and selling them the old fashioned way.
This has sort of been a rant.