Cartoonist Josh Elder, who has been active for some time in promoting comics for classroom use, is spearheading a project to raise funds for The Graphic Textbook, a Kickstarter project featuring a dozen short stories that are coordinated with the Common Core Standards that teachers use nationwide. The book is the latest effort of Reading With Pictures, a nonprofit organization that published a comics anthology in 2010 featuring a roster of stories focused on the benefits of using comics to teach just about everything
The creators featured in the Graphic Textbook include Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavy (Action Philosophers), Chris Schweizer (Crogan's Vengeance), and Roger Langridge (The Muppet Show, Snarked), among others. The book, which addresses a variety of topics in a number of disciplines (Social Studies, Math, Language Arts, Science), is keyed to criteria outlined in the standard classroom curriculum. The book will include a teachers guide with lesson plans for each story, research to support the use of comics in the classroom and other resources. The book is also overseen by educational consultants to ensure that it meets current standards.
The Graphic Textbook is the latest product of the nonprofit Reading with Pictures, which was founded by Elder. The organization has also just relaunched its website to make it a resource for teachers, with lesson plans, research papers, and a forum for discussion of the use of comics in the classroom.
If this project is funded, Elder said, the next step would be to produce a line of graphic textbooks that are aimed at specific subjects and grade ranges. "If you put words and pictures together, you get a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts," Elder said. "It can improve both reading comprehension and retention, and we can see major improvements in any subject we apply this to, in any context."