A high school teacher connects with students through comic books, and the result has been that students read for information and for pleasure.
Tim Smyth, a Wissahickon High School social studies teacher, has a reputation for being a challenging teacher among students. So it surprised them when he did something wholly unexpected. He started giving out comic books in his classes.
At first, the comic books were a way to illustrate history, such as famous battles or American civil rights. But soon he was offering Captain America, Batman, and Spider Man.
Sometimes the books were blends of fact and fiction. Smyth found that comic books “where Batman is in the French Revolution or Superman is in the American Civil War” provided an interesting starting point. The students were attracted by the superheros, but then the class discussed the actual historical event.
Comic books became a unique standard of Smyth’s lessons once he realized that he had discovered something that really worked. He now has entire shelves of his classroom occupied with comic books, and also superhero figurines, from Darth Vader to Superman.