A secondary school English language arts teacher in Colorado, Jenn Anya Prosser, believes you can. In a recent interview, she said:
You have images that support the text and you’re developing really important skills and creating an understanding of literature by reading comics. From one panel to the next, there’s a gap where you insert your own imagination into the story and that empowers you as a reader. You become more interested in what you are reading.
I think that’s a great idea, and it aligns perfectly with the spirit of the Philosophy for Children movement (P4C). P4C was traditionally delivered through a set of core materials consisting of seven novels with accompanying manuals, but Jana Mohr Lone, philosopher and director of the University of Washington’s Center for Philosophy for Children, told me:
We use a variety of prompts — picture books, chapter books (including ones a class is already reading), other curricula already being used in the classroom (for reading, math, science, etc.), games and activities, drama, music, etc.
As Prosser also notes in her interview, it doesn’t matter what materials a P4C teacher uses so much as how they are used:
I think it can be used in almost every classroom. One of my favorite graphic novels currently is ‘Trinity,’ which is by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm. And he discusses the history of the atom bomb. He goes into the science behind it, the social sciences, who’s who, what’s going on in World War II and it could be applied to a science classroom or a history classroom.