1. They're not threatening to kids who think they "hate to read" because they're not "A Book."
2. They seem slightly rebellious to kids (although they often feature storylines that are as old as dirt.)
3. They are not featured on Accelerated Reader Lists (Why this is a benefit is a topic for another post, I think.)
3. They're fun.
4. They often feature stunning artwork. Exposing kids to creative, innovative, and excellent art continues to be important long after most kids think they're too big for picture books.
5. Young eyes sometimes get lost in a page of text. Comic books draw a circle around each group of words, training the eye to grab chunks of text at a time, which is, by the way, how mature readers read.
6. They are an effective bridge between picture books and chapter books.
7. They increase childrens' vocabulary. (No, really. Have you read any Calvin and Hobbes lately? Also not on Accelerated Reader lists, by the way.)
8. They help children develop comedic timing. And yes, that is an important skill. No, it's not one valued in schools, but it's a critical skill for conversation, being personable and comfortable in a group, and useful for anyone who may need to present to a crowd of people at some point in their life.
9. They're easy to transport, and they're relatively cheap.
10. They're often serialized, providing book after book on a kid's favoriate characters, pulling a kid bit by bit into fluency by repetition and practice.
11. They contain more puns than easy readers. Puns and wordplay, like comedic timing, are not things valued in a school environment but they add richness, variety and humor to both real life and the reading life.
12. They train a child's eye visually. Through comics, my kid has learned how to draw expressions on faces with a few short strokes, how to arrange a picture to show action happening off-frame, and has learned proportion and visually spacing.