Professor Garfield Promotes Reading


Jim Davis, the creator of Garfield, has been writing Garfield comics and books for nearly 30 years. Because of the feedback he has received from both teachers and parents over the years, he decided that he needed to use the character he had created in a way that would not only entertain children but educate them as well. The Professor Garfield website was launched in the hope that it would help "children discover that reading and writing are enjoyable and will become something children want to do on their own."

The Professor Garfield Foundation was created by Paws, Inc., the studio that publishes Garfield, Ball State University, and several education content providers. These partners have donated both money and in-kind support to develop www.professorgarfield.org, which offers games, challenges, videos and cartoons to teach literacy skills to children in preschool through grade 8. The activities are based on national standards in the content areas they address. Materials on the site are free to teachers, parents and students.

While the primary focus at the present time is early literacy (K-3), modules for older students are being developed. Module topics include: reading (The Reading Ring); creative writing (The Comics Lab); phonemic awareness (Fishing with Phonics and Orson's Farm); art and music (Art-Bot and Music-Bot); the importance of sleep, a module sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (Starsleeper); a module to answer teen questions (Sparktop.org); and a module of interactive learning activities in the content areas for kids in grades K-6 (KB Kids). There is even a teacher's lounge with lesson plans and activities. Teachers can also download storybooks, prizes, posters and more.