Comic books encourage reading

Program offers comics in exchange for essays

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SOUTH MIAMI, Fla. - An avid comic book reader starts a program that he hopes will increase literacy among children in South Florida.

Socrates Alvarez has read more than 20,000 comic books in his life. He keeps his favorites but is passing the extras on to a new generation. 

"They were doing nothing but collecting dust and I figured it would be nice to give it away to kids," said Alvarez. "So we started ComicEd to provide comic books to kids and increasing literacy."

Students at Oliver Hoover Elementary School in Miami are scooping up the super hero exploits, which teachers say are turning their students into super readers. 

"I think it can make anyone want to read because it has so much action and adventure in it," said second grader Luca Grignola. "It makes the kids actually think that other books would be like that."

"They also have pictures for like reluctant readers who don't like to read so much. They could be more interested in them," added fifth grader Sammy Rodriguez.

Teachers say the action-packed comics are a hit. 

"The comic books really appeal to the kids who may not be the best readers because the pictures enhance the understanding of the text and it motivates them to read and it's wonderful," said media specialist Kim Montero.

In order to get the comic books, students must compose essays about good character traits, helping them improve their writing skills and stimulate their imaginations. 

"All the super heroes I enjoy, I always think of their background. If it doesn't give a background, I make up the background myself," said fifth grader Valerie Chavez.

Alvarez and ComicEd have given away over 1,000 comic books so far and welcomes donations.  Alvarez screens all comic books before passing them on to the school kids.

Click here to learn how you can donate to ComicEd.

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