Reading with Pictures



Reading has always been a magical experience from the young to the young at heart. Reading Comprehension enhancement can enhance a students learning from elementary to high school. There has been various research and discussion about early intervention and teaching basic reading skills to kids before the age of nine. But what happens to kids with delayed reading skills when they enter middle and high school? Are accommodations in the classroom enough? Enter Reading with Pictures.

Reading With Pictures was founded in 2009 by award-winning graphic novelist and nationally syndicated cartoonist Josh Elder in order to revolutionize the role of comics in education. The organization has since grown to comprise eight board members drawn from publishing and academia, including John Shableski, Sales Manager for Diamond Book Distributors, and David Rapp, an Associate Professor of Learning Sciences and Cognitive Psychology at Northwestern University. We also engage the talents of more than 60 active volunteers from all over the world in various capacities.

At Reading With Pictures, we believe that comics have the potential to be more engaging, more efficient and more effective educational tools than traditional classroom materials. We believe it because we’ve experienced it in our own lives. Comics made us better students, better citizens and better people. Now we hope to share those experiences with pupils in every city, in every school and in every classroom.

Reading With Pictures is a nonprofit organization that 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.

However, Reading with Pictures does not need to be limited to just using comics to enhance reading eduction. There are several application and web resources that can have teachers and students create their own comic books for learning enhancement.

Bitstrips is a wonderful online creation tool that allows users create their own mini comics using character likeness and other comic related media. These work great for social media users and there is also Bitstrips for Schools that allows teachers and educators to create interactive learning for various classroom lessons.

Apps such as Comicbook! which allows users to create their own comic book strip using pictures and use them in a comic book layout. Students can also create their own interactive stories using StoryLines, Scribble Press, Toontastic, Puppet Pals and iBook Author. These apps not only allow teachers and students to create comic related stories but also enhance them using video and other interactive tools for story presentation.

In my experience when students are allowed to create their own stories their reading comprehension and understanding of the stories they read are greatly enhanced. Reading with Pictures since it’s founding in 2009 has become a major player in the field of visual literacy. Once testimonial from their website says it all:


“My association with Reading with Pictures and access to the research based information regarding the use of graphic novels, actually saved comics in my classroom.  In addition to the wonderful anthology resource, the ability to bounce ideas off of other educators and network with other professionals has enabled me to take my curriculum to a whole new height.”

Jeni DeFeo
6th grade Social Studies and Reading
Jefferson City, MO
2012 Missouri State Teacher of the Year Finalist


  You can watch my video on using Reading with Pictures at




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