I really enjoy reading comics that are designed for young children. The illustrations are fun, the stories are easy to follow, and it's easier for me to read things in the right order. I can very easily see children who can read just a little, or who don't enjoy reading print materials, enjoying graphic works where there are relatively few words.
More graphic works are being published for young children now; I don't think I had nearly this many options when I was just learning to read. The only graphic works I had access to were Chick Tracts. Chick tracts, created by Jack Chick, are small comic books which attempt to convince people to become born-again Christians. They cover a wide range of evangelical and fundamentalist hot topics such as evolution, Islam, and homosexuality. My family had a copy or two of each tract, and I read every one of them, even the ones conveniently marked by my parents as "not suitable for children."
And while some of these were definitely aimed at children,
some others weren't, or at least shouldn't have been. Some of these images are downright scary, and I frequently had nightmares after reading these things.
When I was a child, I didn't know I was reading propaganda. I was simply drawn to the comic-book-style of the small pamphlets, as well as the fact that I could easily read through several in one afternoon. Had I been exposed to other graphic works at the time, I could easily have evolved into a comic book fan. But I never saw comic books in my classroom or in the school library, never checked any out at the public library or was in place to purchase them myself. At that time, comics still had the reputation for being, at best, "less than" print works, and at worst, dangerous propaganda.
It is true that young children focus a major portion of their schooling on learning to read. It's also true that learning to read traditional print, and being proficient at it, leads to greater school success and, one hopes, greater success in life. But this does not diminish the artistry or value of graphic works. Just as I often encouraged my students to read books outside of their preferred genre, it is also beneficial to read things outside of one's preferred medium.
When I taught 7th grade, one of the things my students need extra assistance with was basic reading comprehension, especially when it came to approaching their textbooks. I discovered that many of them did not know to look at bold words, captions under pictures, charts, graphs, maps, headings, or the other helpful information a publisher places in a textbook.