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Our Impact

History

Reading With Pictures is a 501(c)3 nonprofit based in Illinois that exists to promote the use of comics in education.

RWP was founded in 2009 by award-winning comics writer Josh Elder in order to revolutionize the role of comics in education. Today, RWP is a leading voice in the conversation on utilizing comics in the classroom. In addition to producing original scholastic comics and curriculum, RWP has compiled an extensive database of research and educational resources on our website, and regularly sponsors panels and seminars on educational comics at conventions, conferences, and schools around the world.

Need

In an increasingly media-rich and information-dense world, the educational sector is searching for innovative methods to reach students and engage them in curriculum. At RWP, we know that comics have the potential to be more engaging, more efficient and more effective educational tools than many traditional classroom materials.

Comics have the ability to present core curriculum subject matter in an entertaining and approachable manner through a medium widely enjoyed by readers around the world. Research has shown that comics require readers to actively create meaning from the interplay of text and images. This leads to greater engagement between the reader and the content. The comic format also conveys large amounts of information in a short time. While readers can gain a great deal of information quickly through the visual nature of comics, they are also able to control the pace of their reading for deeper understanding. Additionally, processing text and images together has been proven to lead to better recall and transfer of learning.

As more and more educators begin to utilize comics in their classrooms, RWP is working hard to meet the growing demand for insightful and innovative educational comics, and provide educators with resources to maximize the educational power of comics and graphic novels.

Constituency

We provide tools and resources to educators, parents, writers, cartoonists and publishers in order to meet our ultimate goal of promoting literacy and improving educational outcomes for all students everywhere.

Publications

Comics That Make Kids Smarter, is an anthology of scholastic comics for grades 3 – 6 addressing topics drawn from the Common Core Standards. Featuring more than a dozen short stories (both fiction and nonfiction) that address topics in Social Studies, Math, Language Arts, and Science, the anthology offers an immersive textual and visual experience – a textbook that kids will actually want. The accompanying Teacher’s Guide (nearly as long as the book itself) includes Standards-correlated lesson plans customized for each story, research-based justifications for using comics in the classroom, a guide to establishing best classroom practices and a comprehensive listing of additional educational resources, both in print and online.

The production of Comics That Make Kids Smarter was funded entirely by individual donors through a crowdfunding campaign hosted on Kickstarter. In just 34 days, 971 backers pledged $77,420 to help bring this project to life, thus demonstrating a deep global demand for educational comics content.

The book was then acquired by Andrews McMeel Publishing and released in August 2014 to a strong critical reception, including a starred review from Booklist. It sold through its first printing in less than six months, and the US State Department acquired foreign distribution rights for markets in Central and South America in order to use the book as a tool for teaching English Language skills.

Curriculum Development

Reading With Pictures develops educational content for a wide variety of clients – including Andrews McMeel Publishing and HowToons – that it then makes available to the public free of charge.

Educational Resource Database

Our website hosts the largest database of comics-based teaching resources in the English language. Materials include lesson plans for early reader, grades K-12 and Higher Education, as well as research and rational on the use of comics in the classroom. Our website hosts one of the largest English language databases of comics based teaching resources for grades K-12 and Higher Education, as well as research and rational on the use of comics in the classroom.

To date, our database has been accessed more than 55,000 times by users in 185 countries.

Conferences, Seminars and Workshops

In the years since its founding in 2009, Reading With Pictures has become a fixture at comic conventions and educational/academic/library conferences throughout the United States and thanks to Founder Josh Elder’s work with the US State Department, around the world.

University, Stanford University, Grinnell College, Kyoto University and the University of Concepcion.

Comics Out Loud

This opt-in, single-day event celebrates the unique role that comics can play in the classroom. In both 2013 and 2014, RWP organized nearly 300 teachers, librarians, and other educational professionals to incorporate comic books into their daily activities. Each year we provide free content including posters, classroom activities and recommended reading lists designed to encourage the incorporation of comics into the classroom.