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Chester Comix for smartboards!

Now you can have your whole class read a Chester Comix page together. ( visit Dedicated Teacher! Whoo hoo!)

That was always the goal. All of the Chester the Crab history adventures that you read began in 1999 as 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 scan the photos. 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. Not only was newspaper paper too temporary, but sending newspapers through the mail was too costly. 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. 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 the Great Recession in 2008-09-? also made it clear that fewer and fewer schools would have money to buy class sets of printed books of Chester tales.

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.

Right now it’s just the stories. No hyperlinks, no sound, no bells or whistles. I hope to add those soon. But for now you can put 27 bright and funny books about American history in front of your whole class and read them together. Have fun!!!

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 6th, 2011 at 7:34 am and is filed under Author's Purpose, History Teacher, literacy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

2 Responses to “Chester Comix for smartboards!”

  1. Maribeth Lowe says:

    My sister used to sit on the teacher’s advisory panel (for lack of another term) for the Daily Press in Newport News, and I became aware of your work through her. I teach in Greene County, VA (Special Education) and love the format of these comics. I see where you have them available for SmartBoard, and am excited about the prospect of digital comics. My school uses Mimio technology, and I/we would love to use your work in this format. Any chance of that in the future? If you’re not familiar with Mimio, you can check it out at Thanks!

    Maribeth Lowe

  2. Lisa D says:

    These digital versions are accessible on any Interactive White Board (IWB)…Smart boards, Activboards, Mimeos, etc. They are a PDF dile. Therefore, you can also access them on smartphones, iPads, iPod touch, Chromebooks, etc. Thank you Mr. Boyd for making Chester tech savvy:)

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