National Writing Project

New English/Spanish Activity Book Supports Early Literacy Development

College Board's National Commission on Writing Joins National Writing Project, Reading Is Fundamental to Promote Early Childhood Literacy

For Immediate Release


NEW YORK, June 11, 2008—Studies have shown that reading to young children promotes language development and, in time, academic achievement. A new book for preschoolers provides children's first teachers—those at home—with a tool to help youngsters begin to develop literacy.

"The College Board's National Commission on Writing believes there is a need to support early literacy development for children so they are prepared for success in school," said Alan Heaps, vice president of Advocacy at the College Board. "To engage young children in both writing and reading, we've collaborated with the National Writing Project and Reading Is Fundamental to publish Our Book By Us!/Nuestro Libro ¡Hecho Por Nosotros! to help younger children on the road to literacy."

Created with award-winning author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds, this activity book is designed to encourage caregivers to read, write, and talk with their preschool-age children. Our Book By Us!/Nuestro Libro ¡Hecho Por Nosotros! has 28 colorfully illustrated pages with text in both English and Spanish. The book contains a series of six "minibooks" featuring SugarLoaf, an enthusiastic teddy-bear-like character created by Reynolds. In the stories, SugarLoaf makes her own book about her life and adventures with the help of friends and relatives. As a special feature, each SugarLoaf minibook has activity pages that invite the child and caregiver to talk, draw, and write about their own lives and experiences. Ideas for enjoyable extension activities demonstrate how everyday experiences can be opportunities to teach literacy.

"National Writing Project teachers understand that early literacy skills, which link reading and writing, develop first at home through interactions with parents, grandparents, and caregivers long before a child enters a classroom," said Sharon Washington, executive director of NWP. "That is why we are thrilled to have worked on this project that provides a fun, colorful developmental tool—assuring that more children are prepared for literacy instruction when they begin school."

The first 50,000 copies of Our Book By Us! will be distributed without charge to children in Head Start and other early learning programs served by RIF and through NWP sites around the country. The books are environmentally friendly, printed with soy ink on recycled paper. An electronic version also is available online through the Web sites of all three organizations.

"Thanks to the generous support of the College Board's National Commission on Writing and the National Writing Project, RIF can further its mission of providing books and literacy resources to the children and families that need them most," said Carol H. Rasco, RIF president and CEO. "When children have access to books and learn to read for fun, they tend to achieve greater success in school and life."


The National Writing Project (NWP) is a professional development network that serves teachers of writing at all grade levels, primary through university, and in all subjects. The mission of the NWP is to improve student achievement by improving the teaching of writing and improving learning in the nation's schools. Founded in 1974, the NWP has sites at nearly 200 universities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, serving more than 135,000 participants annually. For more information, visit

The College Board: Connecting Students to College Success is a not-for-profit membership association whose mission is to connect students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the association is composed of more than 5,400 schools, colleges, universities, and other educational organizations. Each year, the College Board serves seven million students and their parents, 23,000 high schools, and 3,500 colleges through major programs and services in college admissions, guidance, assessment, financial aid, enrollment, and teaching and learning. Among its best-known programs are the SAT®, the PSAT/NMSQT®, and the Advanced Placement Program® (AP®). The College Board is committed to the principles of excellence and equity, and that commitment is embodied in all of its programs, services, activities, and concerns. For more information, visit

Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF), founded in 1966, motivates children to read by working with them, their parents and community members to make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life. RIF's highest priority is reaching underserved children from birth to age 8. Through community volunteers in every state and U.S. territory, RIF provides 4.6 million children with 16 million new, free books and literacy resources each year. For more information, visit

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