Mickey Mouse Welcomed Back to School
Comic books have had a love/hate relationship with teachers ever since the first titles were published 70 years ago. These days, with graphic novels and manga filling school and public libraries, they have become a staple in children’s reading.
As a result, Maryland is now formally bringing them back into the classroom. Superintendent of Schools Nancy Grasmick entered into a relationship with Disney Publishing Worldwide publishing’s education division to craft teaching aids using Mickey Mouse and friends. Activities include creating their own comic books, something that has captured the kids’ imaginations.
According to reports from Associated Press, the pilot program was begun last year and is being used in eight third grade classes in the state. Disney was presented Maryland’s reading standards for the grade and then tailored comic book material to meet the guidelines. The program includes lesson plans for the teachers and comic book activities for the students. Mickey’s adventures will now help children learn how to craft a plot and understand characterization.
"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," Grasmick said in a statement. "This project enhances other work that goes on in the reading class. Comic books and graphic novels cannot replace other forms of literature, but they can be an entry point for some reluctant readers."
Teachers interviewed have been supportive and with the program now underway, Disney and Maryland are looking at more modern characters and materials to supplement the curriculum.
"I don’t think that is where I want my 9- or 10-year-old child spending their time in school," Timothy Shanahan, president of the International Reading Association told Maryland’s The Daily Times. "It might be a choice of reading 1,000 words versus 300 words. You don’t want it to replace more substantial reading."
With Disney now owning the CrossGen properties, including Abadazad and Meridian, there are plenty of age-appropriate characters beyond the legendary Mouseketeers to pick from. It’s also interesting to note that the program is being launched in Maryland, home to Diamond Comics and owner Steve Geppi, who holds the domestic license for the classic Disney comic books.
(Artwork copyright Disney Corporation. All Rights Reserved.)