[Technology 1432] Online Educational Comics Helping Families Write, Read and Tell Stories Both in English and Spanish

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wmz at aol.com wmz at aol.com
Fri Dec 21 11:22:54 EST 2007


Dear group,
A year ago, when we first launched our comic strip generator --
www.MakeBeliefsComix.com -- you were among the first to give us your
support and encouragement in providing a useful educational resource
for ESOL and literacy students.
We have just upgraded the site to enable users to also write their
comics in Spanish as well as in English -- a request made by many
educators -- and we have added more fun characters to use in the comics
in response to user suggestions. Since the site was launched more
150,000 educators in more than 150 countries are using our free
resource to encourage writing, reading and literacy.
I hope you will try out our new features and share them with your
community.
Below is some background on the site.
All good wishes to you.
Bill Zimmerman

I am an author of books that are used in many educational programs to
help people find their writers voice. I have launched a free new web
site -- http://www.makebeliefscomix.com-- where users can create their
own comic strips. It offers fun animal and human characters with
different moods, blank talk and thought balloons that are waiting to be
filled in with words and dialogue, and story prompts. Schools are
using it to encourage youngsters to write, read and express themselves
creatively. I am hoping that you will like it and share it with your
viewers. I have included an announcement below with more details.
With good wishes,
Bill Zimmerman

New Online Comics Launched for Family Fun and Education –-
http://www.makebeliefscomix.com

A new educational web site where children and parents can create their
own comic strips and have fun together has been launched by family book
author and journalist Bill Zimmerman.

At http://www.makebeliefscomix.com visitors can select from 15 animal
and human characters with different emotions -- happy, sad, angry,
worried – and write words for blank talk and thought balloons to make
their characters talk and think. There also are story ideas and
prompts to help users create graphic stories on themes such as: Travel
to a Mysterious Place, A Day at School, Write a Love Story, Finding
Your Courage, Making Wishes Come True, and A New Fairy Tale.

Parents and children can create stories together, print them to create
comic books or email to friends and family. The site can also be used
by educators to teach language, reading and writing skills, and for
students in English-as-a-Second-Language programs to facilitate
self-expression and storytelling, as well as computer literacy. Others
will find the site a resource to be creative, calm down and have fun.

Because so many Spanish-speaking users asked us for the ability to
write their cartoons in Spanish as well as in English, we also recently
upgraded the site to accept words written in Spanish, including
appropriate accent marks. This can be a useful tool for someone who is
learning Spanish as well as someone whose first language is Spanish.
In time, this feature will be extended to other languages.
As one who learned to read with comic books, Zimmerman says, ‘’I know
that creating comic strips can help people tap into their creativity
and practice their language and storytelling skills.’’

The site is free with no ads and stems from Zimmerman’s
lifelong mission to create educational resources that
help people find their voice and express themselves imaginatively. The
concept for makebeliefscomix.com is derived from his earlier books,
Make Beliefs and Make Beliefs for Kids of All Ages (which can be found
on his other web site: http://www.billztreasurechest.com). A Make
Beliefs interactive feature appeared for 13 years on his syndicated
Student Briefing Page for Newsday (which was twice nominated for a
Pulitzer) and in National Geographic’s World Magazine. Among
Zimmerman’s other books are How to Tape Instant Oral Biographies, a
family oral history guide, and 100 Things Guys Need to Know, a book to
help boys make their way in life. His email address is: wmz at aol.com
or billz at makebeliefscomix.com and he welcomes user feedback on the new
site.



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