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September 02, 2013

Atama-ii Books: multiple-path stories in easy English!

atama-ii-books.jpgMarcos Benevides is one of the better known names in the ELT industry. And that's why his new project may just succeed where others have failed. The Japan-based author, teacher and now publisher is using the Kickstarter crowdfunding website to bring about the kind of project traditionally produced by a publishing house.

Marcos is aiming to publish a series of 10 books, multiple-path stories in easy English, just like it says on the box. The Atama-ii books are being produced by an experienced team of writers and editors, including the series editor and several adaptation writers from the Choose Your Own Adventure graded reader series by McGraw-Hill. With high-quality, full-colour illustrations on every page, a consistent structure, and appealing storylines, the series is specced to a high standard. The stories, described as "easy--but not dumbed down," are designed to slot into an Extensive Reading program at around the "300 headword and 2,500 running-word level (comparable to Oxford or Cambridge Starters, or to Penguin Easystarts)".

Crowdfunding is all about pitching a compelling idea, often written in a tongue-in-cheek style that brings a smile to your face and hopefully loosens your purse strings. As well written as you'd expect from an "ELTon" Award winner, the Atama-ii Books pitch is in that humourous vein and partly written in the form of a multi-path story.

We at ELT News are delighted to see the project gaining some real momentum and already a quarter way to its $10,000 fundraising goal. The project is just the kind of disruptive edtech that appeals to the folks over at eltjam, so you know they're giving it lots of love, too. Particularly as they and bloggers like Alex Case have observed, ELT has been a bit late to the crowdfunding party. The only question seems to be whether Marcos' pitch will reach and appeal to enough ELT types to give this project the level of social media traction it needs to get over the finish line.

The Atama-ii Books project on Kickstarter

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