Reading With Pictures Kickstarter project to produce high-quality textbooks in graphic novel form

Reading With Pictures is a great textbook in graphic novel form, which contains several short stories in comic form, each of which teaches elements of the US grades 3-6 core curriculum. I got a preview of the book at last year's New York Comic-Con and it is a fantastic effort. The 501(c)3 charity that produced the book has launched a Kickstarter campaign seeking to raise $65,000 to print the book and an accompanying teacher's guide. $10 donors get the DRM-free ebook; $25 donors get a hardcover print book. There's also a set of trading cards, as well as opportunities to get some of the outstanding original art.

Aimed at grades 3-6, The Graphic Textbook features a dozen short stories (both fiction and non-fiction) that address topics in a variety of disciplines (Social Studies, Math, Language Arts, Science) drawn from the list of Common Core Standards used in classrooms countrywide. The accompanying Teacher’s Guide will include Standards-correlated lesson plans customized to 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.

The Graphic Textbook will prove once and for all that comics belong in the classroom by creating a comic that every teacher will actually want to use and a textbook that every student will actually want to read!

Support Our Kickstarter | Reading With Pictures (Thanks, Matt!)


    1. Ehrich,

      As a board member at Reading With Pictures and also a big fan of Idiocracy, I’d keep toward the “don’t knock it till you try it” route in this case. 

      The Graphic Textbook, which is the project that the nonprofit RWP is putting out, will have input from teachers, curriculum specialists, and academics from Northwestern University.  The curriculum guide that will accompany the book is also being developed by top educators.  I myself went to Teachers College – Columbia University, so we are proud of the work we’re putting into this collection.

      Check out what we’re doing and if you know any teachers (or are yourself one!) then we’d love constructive input into how not to pave the way to Idiocracy.  We’ve created a forum and place for folks to upload their own curriculum and we’ll be building a large collection of well researched information on why comics in the classroom is a fantastic thing!

      – Tim Sarrantonio

      1.  Hi Tim,

        One of the first texts I read like this was David Chelsea’s “Perspective for Comic Book Artists” which was in comic book form and was useful given the subject the first read through.  However, I found it was hard to review the content later since finding things was not as easy. 

        My question is: are you guys doing anything to help with this, like putting bullet point summaries of content at the end of chapters, or are you relying on the teachers and handouts for reviewing the content after reading? 

        Either way, good luck.  I think this is a great way to teach some subjects so hope it takes off.

  1. Josh Elder, Founder and President of Reading With Pictures here. We’re developing a series of best practices that address the concerns that you mention and quite a few more besides. Many of these will be found in the print edition, but even more will be active in the digital edition. 

    My day job is at iVerse Media, a digital comics platform. We’re working to develop a suite of digital tools (smart footnotes, customizable bookmarks, high-level data tracking) that will allow for a much more effective learning experience for students and empower teachers to instruct more effectively. We’re using the Khan Academy as a model when it comes to feedback mechanisms and learning tools that can be both self-directed or directed from above. 

    And as Tim said, please feel join the conversation at and address your concerns and share your ideas with our larger community so that educators everywhere can benefit.

  2. As someone who has been a teacher, and is currently an animator, I gotta say while I do respect the effort, I don’t think making learning as ‘fun’ in the general since all the time is going to work. 

    How about actually developing the kids to have longer attention spans, or teaching them that learning isn’t always fun. Because it isnt. I’m just not on this bandwagon of all learning must be entertaining. I don’t even think all learning can be engaging. Sometimes you just have to wade through it.

  3. Like others have said, I  appreciate the effort, and the book looks like it has a solid lineup of artists.  However, I do feel a bit confused about what this project has as its ultimate aim, since it doesn’t seem to be addressing a particular problem in education. 

    The goal seems to be “to get teachers to use comics in the classroom,” but we’re never told HOW it will benefit students any more than teachers using, say, films or modern dance or Venn diagrams in the classroom. 

    Cartoonists and publishers would benefit from the creation of a market for comic book text books (and apparently that’s what this Kickstarter is trying to establish), because it could potentially be a way to move a lot of product.  And hey, more paying work for cartoonists is never a bad thing.

    But I don’t think the people running the Kickstarter have demonstrated why this project is going to be a great thing for STUDENTS, which is ultimately what a text book is supposed be about. 

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