Saturday, September 11, 2010


By Chris Wilson

I am not sure what it is, but I know I like it.

READING WITH PICTURES, the anthology, arrived in my mailbox a little over a week ago. I was reading a textbook on teaching comics in the middle school and high school classroom at the time and I had to finish it first before picking up RWP. I am a little neurotic like that.

I used every free moment, of which I have few, to finish that textbook on Friday of Labor Day weekend. Despite the nice weather and the incredible urge to hop on the Harley and take a leisurely ride across the countryside of Southwest Missouri, I sat and read and reviewed my hardcover anthology.

I am almost at odds with myself on how to properly categorize READING WITH PICTURES. It is part comics history lesson, part defense of comics in the classroom, part story, and part science curriculum in comics form. It’s sprinkled with jabs at traditional teaching techniques (stickers for motivation and knuckle-busting rulers), educational pedagogy and strategies (I thought the comic on onomatopoeia would be pitch perfect for the elementary classroom), and stories promoting libraries and literacy.

READING WITH PICTURES is, above all things, a comic. It uses various art forms: American comics, manga, extraordinarily cartoony and rich realism. The anthology is humorous and serious and educational and academic and with all this it is still elusively indescribable.

I loved it –– a lot. I already have plans to use some of its chapters in my classroom and have suggestions for a high school science teacher friend. That makes it highly recommended in my mind.

The anthology is the creation of the similarly titled nonprofit organization, Reading With Pictures, that according to its website: “advocates the use of comics in the classroom to promote literacy and improve educational outcomes for all students. We work with academics to cultivate groundbreaking research into the proper role of comics in education. We collaborate with cartoonists to produce exceptional graphic novel content for scholastic use. Most importantly, we partner with educators to develop a system of best practices for integrating comics into their curriculum. At Reading With Pictures, we get comics into schools and get schools into comics.”

The anthology is recommended for ages 7 and older and is an excellent compliment to the classroom if not for its educational contributions, information, and pedagogy, then for its uniqueness and the financial benefits for the organization that published it. Consider the purchase of RWP your contribution to the comics-in-education movement and the research that will be produced because of it.

Chris’ Rating: Ages 7 and older
Publisher’s Rating: Ages 7 and older

Author: Various
Illustrator: Various
Publisher: Reading With Pictures
Genre: Educational

Format: Hardcover
Volume: 1
Pages: 192
Full color
ISBN-13: 978-0-578-05277-9

Highly Recommended

No comments: