Saltire Goes To (Scottish) Schools!

Saltire - Ionnsaigh

Struggling to get children to pick up a book? Comic books and graphic novels might be the key to boosting literacy in youngsters, particularly boys, say researchers – and now Scotland’s newest superhero, Saltire, is joining efforts to encourage reading.

Comics are gaining a new respect in education, with researchers and literacy experts across the globe making a strong argument for graphic story telling within the teaching environment. Often aimed at struggling readers, comic books are typically packed with action and adventure, featuring dynamic characters and engaging language.

Now Diamondsteel Comics, the team behind the Scottish superhero, Saltire, have launched their series on the school eBook system for the new academic year.

“Comics are intriguing to children not because they are simple, but because they are dynamic,” says Dr Chris Murray, a comics expert and head of English at the University of Dundee. “Not only do they tell exciting adventure stories, but because the individual panels show only fragments of the action, readers have to use their imagination to fill in the gaps. This engages children, and challenges them.”

Emergent readers and older children, who struggle with literacy, are finding comics a great confidence-builder. Series creator John Ferguson says “We are delighted to see the books enter the education system and see graphic novels as an excellent gateway to literacy for a new generation.

Saltire creator John Ferguson - and friend...
Saltire creator John Ferguson – and friend…

“This is dramatic and dynamic storytelling with action and superheroes at its core. It interweaves Scottish mythology and history with superhero dynamics. It’s going to engage the attention of children across a wide spectrum of reading abilities.”

The hugely successful Saltire series has been translated into Gaelic and Scots language, prompting an Arts and Culture award nomination for promotion of native languages.

Ferguson is enthusiastic about this direction for his graphic novels.

“We hope to make the Saltire series easily accessible to young Gaelic speakers and encourage more Scots language education through such a modern and popular medium.”

Saltire will join an extensive collection of literature on the RM eBooks system, available in all Scottish schools and for use within their eBook library.

• For more about Satire, find him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/saltirecomics or follow on Twitter @saltirecomics | Web: www.diamondsteelcomics.com

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a “freelance comics operative”, currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY.

John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor.

He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY.

Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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