Chester Comix for Smartboards
Most of Chester the Crab’s history adventures come from the 1999-2004 era when he was a comic in the Daily Press newspaper in Newport News, Virginia. The newspaper sold classroom subscriptions at a discount and raised donations from area businesses to get many copies of the paper in front of students. It was a great way to promote literacy — after the kids read Chester they could then turn to the sports or movie sections or look at the way photos interacted with captions and stories. But of course newspaper paper is fragile, so teachers would laminate the Chester pages to keep them bright year after year. (I STILL meet teachers who have held on to those laminated newspaper pages all these years later.) We had a great product but a clunky delivery system.
I knew other teachers in other states would also love to teach with Chester. So in 2003 I got permission from the Daily Press to put Chester’s adventures into book form. I kept the books paperback to hold the cost down AND to be a friendly format for reluctant readers. FINALLY I had a more durable format so I could ship these stories to Texas and California and South Dakota!
I still plan to keep the books in print for all the museum bookstores that carry Chester Comix and all the parents who want to see their kids reading on the couch. But as I’ve gone into schools to give my Author’s Purpose talks, I’ve kept a close eye on the rising use of smartboards. In the past year I became convinced that enough classrooms had them to make it worth my while to convert Chester’s stories into a digital format that can be showed on those boards for the whole class to read together.
(PLUS, the digital books include the matching teacher’s guide material at the end of the file! You can print out those classroom activity pages as many times as you would like.)