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ERIC Number: EJ782207
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Apr
Pages: 13
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 18
ISSN: ISSN-1081-3004
The Comic Book Project: Forging Alternative Pathways to Literacy
Bitz, Michael
Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, v47 n7 p574-586 Apr 2004
Many deep-rooted problems in urban areas of the United States--including crime, poverty, and poor health--correlate with illiteracy. The statistics reported by organizations such as the National Alliance for Urban Literacy Coalitions are telling. Urban citizens who cannot read sufficiently are at a clear disadvantage in life. They are more likely to be poor, to be incarcerated, and to have health problems. Meanwhile, another body of research shows a strong correlation between arts-rich environments and children's academic performance. Do the arts make kids smarter, or are smart kids involved in the arts? While the debate continues in the academic community, the fact remains that most urban schools are not "rich" in arts or anything else. Most urban schools cannot make a connection between their arts and academic programs because there are simply too many other issues to worry about, particularly budgets and standardized test scores. Even in an arts-oriented program, urban youth face extraordinary challenges: family situations, safety concerns, lack of affordable or appropriate instructional opportunities, and peer resentment. As urban schools continue to struggle, many now look to after-school programs as the future of education in the city. The need for and development of after-school programs are on the rise, and many after-school programs are attempting to reconnect children with the arts. This article describes how The Comic Book Project went from small concept to large-scale pilot in an effort to launch an arts-based literacy initiative for youth in urban after-school programs. Children brainstormed, outlined, sketched, wrote, and designed original comic books that represented their lives as urban youth--what they experience, how they view themselves, how they interact with peers, and how they struggle with daily hardships. (Contains 6 figures.)
International Reading Association. 800 Barksdale Road, P.O. Box 8139, Newark, DE 19714-8139. Tel: 800-336-7323; Fax: 302-731-1057; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States