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Doing Some Good

Please excuse the very off topic post, but you all should know by now that I’m a bleeding heart libertarian. If you like the idea of teaching kids how to read so they can actually read and appreciate our founding documents, then literacy should be a concern. It’s not just a hooked on phonics kind of literacy, but teaching kids how to truly understand the stories they read. Reading with Pictures thinks that they can capture the interest and imagination of kids by using comics. Yup, comics.

Right now, Reading with Pictures is running a Kickstarter campaign to support their first graphic textbook. They are a few hundred dollars short, and their campaign ends Thursday. They just met their goal, but they are trying to raise more so they can expand their plans for the organization!

As a 501(c)3, it’s a deductible donation. They also have all sorts of crazy incentives for higher donations. You can get a custom action figure of yourself ($275), become a Revolutionary War-era sketch in your own copy of the textbook ($70), have a kid in your life drawn into a comic as a classmate of the main character ($75), original artwork & commissions (starting at $75), or a hard copy of the textbook ($25).

3 Responses to “Doing Some Good”

  1. Patrick says:

    Cool concept and site, but I wish we had heard of this earlier because this “reward” is no longer available:

    EXCLUSIVE DIGITAL RIGHTS: Own the exclusive right to distribute THE GRAPHIC TEXTBOOK digitally in all formats and platforms.

    It was only $5000 for exclusive digital rights: All iPads, all websites and all mobile devices. For only $5K.

    The wife and I were just talking this AM about paying it forward, and we could have done this. We were talking over donations and how hard it is to make a real difference. We would have donated this work copyleft (or similar) and let the world run with it. I hope the actual purchaser does the same, instead of selling it for a profit.

    Thanks for the tip. We’ll contribute.

  2. Alpheus says:

    Comics is certainly a fantastic medium for convincing children of the value of reading. My own children enjoy “Calvin and Hobbes” (although it pains me to see the books we have getting thrashed, as they are loved to death); more recently, my oldest (at about six) fell in love with a graphic novel called “Rapunzel’s Revenge”, and she’s read through it by herself (with some prompting here and there, I think) at least once.

    On the other hand, I have a brother-in-law who got into reading by starting to read Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys–and these books are rather sneaky, in that they seem rather simple, but will sometimes throw in complicated sentences and “big” words.

    Ultimately, it doesn’t matter *how* you start reading–all that matters is that you find something that interests you, and start reading it. Once you discover that you can actually learn things from reading, it typically lifts off from there.

    I do have one concern about this project–I generally dislike things that try too overtly to be “educational entertainment”. If this project sticks to “history as stories”, however, they probably can’t go too far wrong. (This is ironic, because I want to write mathematical books, largely in a story-and-dialogue format…although I suppose there’s a fine line between “interestingly told” and “entertainingly told”, and downright “Here’s a Weird Al song about the pancreas, which we include here because the Network demands our program to be educational!”

    • Bitter says:

      The entertainment version of “education” is a fair concern. In regards to this project, I have a lot of faith with the founder. I know him, and he attended Northwestern University as a National Merit Scholar. Here’s something he said earlier today to describe the content of the textbook: “It’s all standards-based content designed to be used in any classroom, and it’s all tied to an impact study overseen by Northwestern University.”

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