National Writing Project

Congressional Briefing Shows Early Reading + Early Writing = School Success

The College Board's National Commission on Writing, the National Writing Project, and Reading Is Fundamental Join Together to Promote Early Childhood Literacy

For Immediate Release


WASHINGTON, D.C., September 15, 2008—A Congressional briefing was held today featuring remarks from Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX), Chairman of the House Education and Labor's Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning and Competitiveness, and noted early childhood development expert Dr. Ellen Frede, co-director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

Hinojosa's remarks stressed the importance of early reading and writing skills and the connection to family literacy. In addition, Frede's testimony clearly linked early childhood literacy skills and overall school success. Studies have shown that reading to young children promotes language development and, in time, academic achievement.

A new bilingual book for preschoolers, jointly produced by the College Board's National Commission on Writing, the National Writing Project (NWP), and Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), was also highlighted. Our Book By Us!/Nuestro Libro ¡Hecho Por Nosotros!, created with award-winning author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds (Judy Moody, The Dot, Ish, Someday), is designed to encourage caregivers to read, write, listen, and talk with their preschool-age children.

Additional speakers at the event included Jim Montoya, vice president of Higher Education Relationship Development at the College Board; Carol Rasco, president and CEO of Reading Is Fundamental; and Dr. Sharon J. Washington, executive director of the National Writing Project.

"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 Jim Montoya, vice president of Higher Education Relationship Development 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 the bilingual Our Book By Us!/Nuestro Libro ¡Hecho Por Nosotros!, to help younger children on the road to 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 J. Washington, executive director of the NWP. "That is why we are thrilled to have worked on this project that provides an engaging, colorful, developmental tool to help more children be prepared for literacy instruction when they begin school."

The first 50,000 copies of Our Book By Us!/Nuestro Libro ¡Hecho Por Nosotros! 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’s National Commission on Writing was founded by the College Board in an effort to focus national attention on the teaching and learning of writing. The College Board 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. 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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