The New York City Comic Book Museum, the nation's only museum dedicated to the art of the comic book, recently launched a unique educational program.
C.O.M.I.C.S. Curriculum – "Challenging Objective Minds: an Instructional Comicbook Series" is the first museum-approved educational program designed to bring comic books into the classroom.
"This is a very professional use of educationally-sound comic books to attract, motivate and instruct our pupils in schools' literacy agenda," said Hunter College professor Rose Harrison, Ed.D. "The C.O.M.I.C.S. Curriculum Teacher's Guide provides them with the appropriate tools needed to get maximum positive results in all aspects: reading, writing, listening and speaking, while the comic books themselves are exciting the children about the prospect of being a reader."
"Teachers and administrators in over 30 schools nationwide, as well as several schools internationally, have shown a great deal of interest in the C.O.M.I.C.S. Curriculum series," said David J. Gabriel, Executive Director of The New York City Comic Book Museum (NYCCBM). "We inaugurated the program this summer in Washington, D.C. with the 'Heads Up' program, and are preparing to launch it this fall in New York. It's a valuable program that acknowledges that while children are so easily distracted by anything colorful, loud and eye-catching, they will read a book or magazine if you make it fun and interesting. A perfect example is the success of the Harry Potter book series. The C.O.M.I.C.S. Curriculum builds on that interest in reading, and utilizes the traditional comic book medium to help children learn structure and creative skills."
The fall program utilizes the recently published comic book "Fantastic Four #60," published in September by Marvel Comics. A New York-based comic book retail store, Midtown Comics, donated a large supply of these books, while Marvel Comics partnered with NYCCBM to include additional reading and writing activities based on pages from the issue, as well as from other classic Marvel Comics.
As designed by Dan Tandarich, a New York City public school teacher, along with educators and professionals consulting with NYCCBM, the eight-lesson C.O.M.I.C.S. Curriculum gets students reading a variety of comic books with the goal of raising interest in this art form, and learning more about the medium. The first four lessons provide warm-ups, activities and lessons that instruct students on the basics of reading comics, the history of comics, and the art of comics. The final four lessons guide students through a simple process of creating their own comic book through characters, plots, settings, and vocabulary.
Teachers receive a guidebook to assist them in the planning of the lessons. The NYCCBM program also supplies teachers with a comic book vocabulary guidebook as well as a bibliography pointing out other comic books that children can learn from. The C.O.M.I.C.S. Curriculum kit also includes pre-selected, age appropriate comic books.