Martha Cornog clued me in to this great article by Manfred von Vulte, 10 Reasons Children Should Read Comic Books. I think he nailed every one. It's excellent to see the comics-reading experience broken down this way, and not just in the obvious ways. No. 1, "Their Lexicon of Complex Words Is Higher Than Most Publications," is often cited by many comics readers and enthusiasts, and it is of course quite true. (The nature of those words --- often science and technology-based, for example --- is also important; it drives readers to further educational horizons.) But when von Vulte poins out that comics are an introduction to nonlinear storytelling and how they serve reluctant readers, he touches on something vastly important. I'm always thrilled to see comics used as educational materials, but I'm even happier when the merits of the format are trumpeted in and of themselves. Comics reading for simple pleasure is a joyous thing. The fact that this type of reading is becoming more and more recognized as a source of reading growth and improved comprehension skills is a thing to celebrate.
It also reminded of this recent piece in MediaBistro, a recap of a panel at the Brooklyn Book Festival, called Do Comics Have a Place in the Classroom? The answer, in case you didn't guess, is a resounding yes, and the reasons are similar: sequential format, visuals are the best way to present some complex ideas, readers are encourages to find little details in a visual work like comics.