Reading with Pictures: A Quick Chat with Trevor Mueller

feature-logoWhile at Wizard World, you have the chance to talk to some pretty interesting people, if you just give them a chance. Artist’s Alley is just full of artists, writers, and creators of all kind, just waiting for a chance to talk about what they do. One particularly busy booth was that of Trevor Mueller, but he was happy to make time to answer a few of my questions about what it is that he does.

Mr Mueller is the Marketing Director for Reading with Pictures, which is an educational comic book founded by Josh Elder. Their mission of this non-profit group is to prove that “comic books can contain visual information in a storybook narrative, but also the educational content that kids need.”

Using Shakespeare as an example, Mr Meuller explains how Shakespearean plays are written as scripts meant to be read by directors and thespians, which can make for a difficult read for students just learning these stories. To deliver these plays in a pictures and text, it would allow students to focus more on the dialog between characters and better comprehend the story.

The first book was created as a “proof of concept” that taught kids math, science, english, and social studies, as well as demonstrating real social situations. Mr Mueller describes it as a “visual narrative that kids want to read, and also educational content that teachers need to teach.” This first book is currently a part of a case study by Northwestern University to test the premise, as well as it is being adopted on a classroom-by-classroom basis in various districts. In order to get this book into more classrooms, however, they needed to adhere to national curriculum standards plus offer teaching tools, such as study guides, teacher guides, and lesson plans. That is where the second book comes in.

Funded by Kickstarter, the second book’s goal is to meet national core curriculum requirements set forth, so that Reading with Pictures can be easily integrated into classrooms as textbook companions or replacements, and to provide educators with the proper materials to teach through the book. The second book is going through rigorous editing and proofing, including review by actual educators, to ensure the book meets the standards that are required for textbooks. Volume 2 should be out later in 2013.

It is a great thing they are doing here, and despite the red tape, they are really soldiering on and making sure that their presence is know at comic book conventions and schools alike. For a vast expanse of details and other information about Reading with Pictures, as well as the most up-to-date information on their progress, visit them at readingwithpictures.org.