Comic books are good for you! Really, it’s true. Take a break, read a comic … improve your reading.
Stephen Krashen, a well-known education researcher, has said that comic books and other “light” reading can be an important part of learning to read at an academic level. His book The Power of Reading summarizes research showing that comic books contain a high number of of unusual and academic vocabulary words, that comic book readers tend to be better overall readers, and that, essentially, all reading is educational reading.
You can get started reading these for free. Daily Bits has posted links and short descriptions for 17 free online English-language graphic novels (comic books). These graphic novels are aimed at a variety of audiences. Some of them, such as Fables, NYC2123, Crossing Midnight, Deadman, Y: The Last Man, The Sandman, DMZ and Fell, are aimed at readers who are 18 years old or older (however, Salamander Dream is for all ages).
Wowio’s Comic Books and Graphic Novels section has quite a few legal, free comic books and graphic novels. You’ll have to register to use Wowio, and they require you to prove your identity using a photo ID, credit card, or “non-anonymous” e-mail address (such as a school e-mail address). I haven’t used this site, so I hope that if you try it, you’ll let me know what you think.
If you are interested in reading more graphic novels and you live in the US or Canada, go to your local library. In the last few years, libraries have been increasing the number of comic books, graphic novels, and manga on the shelves. Most libraries have people on the staff who love to read that kind of thing. They’ll be able to give you recommendations.
You can also check out the Comics in English section of the Readable Blog Bookstore (those, of course, aren’t free). If you have any English-language comic books or graphic novels that you would like to recommend to other English learners, please leave me a comment.