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Josh Elder On His Non-Profit Education Initiative Reading With Pictures (PR)
posted October 10, 2009

I wanted to inform you about a non-profit initiative to facilitate the use of comics in the classroom called Reading With Pictures. We’re going to be funding academic research studies, bringing cartoonists into schools and helping craft curriculum. Our goal is to completely revolutionize the use of comics in the classroom.

We have big plans, and we’re going to need a lot of help to make those plans a reality. Below I’ve listed some more information about the organization and about how people can get involved. The pressing issue garnering votes for a contest on that ends on Oct 14. People register, confirm their registration via email and then vote. If we have the most votes we’re put in the finalist category at the end of the month where we’ll need everyone to come back and vote one last time. If we win, we get $10k which will serve as seed money to get RWP up and running.

I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have and clearly I would like to discuss our plans with you further if you’re interested. However in the meantime, a simple link on the Comics Reporter would be a huge help to our efforts.

My thanks and the information is below for your use and to pass on as you see fit.

Dear Friends and fellow comic fans,

Reading With Pictures is the culmination of several years work by myself and others to build an organization with the remit and the resources to finally bring comics into the classroom and revolutionize the way the medium is viewed by the educational establishment. I learned to read (and moreover, learned to LOVE reading) because of comics, something I'm sure I have in common with many of you on this contact list. Reading With Pictures exists to bring that same opportunity to kids across the country.

Founded by myself, Prof. David Rapp of the Northwestern University Learning Sciences department, John Shableski, Marketing Manager for Diamond Books and Peter Gutierrez, a professional curriculum developer and educational consultant for clients such as TOON Books and Scholastic, Reading With Pictures plans to build a vast array of resources for academics (such as a clearinghouse for academic papers to facilitate peer review), educators (like a searchable database of comic-centric lesson plans and curriculum guides), publishers (such as an educational consultation service), cartoonists (like a speaker's bureau to bring cartoonists into classrooms) and students (such as recommended reading lists for all grades). Though easily the most exciting is our partnership with Northwestern University to develop what we anticipate will be the largest and most comprehensive empirical research study on comics in education in US history.

We have big plans, and we're going to need a lot of help to make them a reality. More information on our plans and how you can be a part of them will be released in the coming months, but right now we need your help to gather votes on (link provided below). Just register, confirm the registration via email and then vote on the idea by midnight on the 14th. Each vote brings us closer to a $10k grand prize and thereby closer to realizing our goals.

And after voting, please pass this message along to any potentially interested parties via email, facebook, twitter or whatever your preferred method of social networking happens to be. Every vote counts!

My sincerest thanks,

Josh Elder, Executive Director of Reading With Pictures