National Writing Project

New Children's Book Brings Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) to Life

The Curious Adventures of Sydney and Symon in: Water Wonders

For Immediate Release


Boston, MA, February 22, 2011 — Today, Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the nation's largest children's literacy nonprofit, and the National Writing Project (NWP) announced the release of The Curious Adventures of Sydney and Symon in: Water Wonders, an original chapter book for children ages 6-8.

The book is the second creative collaboration between the two organizations and FableVision, Inc., an educational media developer and K12 software publisher founded by New York Times best-selling author and illustrator Peter H. Reynolds and his twin brother Paul A. Reynolds.

"RIF is thrilled to launch our latest project with our friends at NWP and FableVision," said Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO. "Water Wonders gives children the opportunity to tap into their curiosity and explore math and science while discovering the joy of reading and writing."

As a follow up to Our Book by Us, published in 2008, the organizations set out to create a new reading experience in English and Spanish that would move beyond pre-school and engage the next generation of inventors and innovators. Water Wonders features two young scientists, Sydney and Symon Starr, a sister and brother team who explore their world by asking questions and conducting experiments with help from their family and teachers. Together, they discover science and engineering through writing.

"Sydney and Symon are the perfect ambassadors to show children the importance of learning about the world around them and using reading and writing to solve problems and share new ideas," said Sharon J. Washington, executive director of the National Writing Project. "Along with our partners at RIF and FableVision, we anticipate that this new book will inspire countless young readers and writers."

Water Wonders introduces the arts to STEM education through various activities that encourage readers to experiment and solve problems on their own as well as through suggestions for further reading. The science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) approach to learning delivers and encourages the "Four Cs" for 21st Century Readiness framework—critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity.

"The real breakthrough in STEM education will be to invite more creative ways for children to express what they are learning—not just to repeat back what they are told," said Peter H. Reynolds, founder of FableVision, who co-wrote and illustrated the new book. "It is our hope that Water Wonders will nurture today's original thinkers to become tomorrow's greatest inventors."

The first printing of 10,000 books is being distributed by RIF and NWP to schools and programs nationwide in disadvantaged communities. It will also be available to download on the RIF and NWP websites, and FableVision is producing an online, interactive Telefable™ version that will be available for viewing on the RIF website in March 2011. With colorful illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds, FableVision artist Renée Kurilla, and fascinating science facts from Science Advisor Melissa Stewart, Water Wonders is sure to inspire the next generation of students.

About Reading Is Fundamental, Inc.

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 provided 4 million children with 15 million new, free books and literacy resources last year. For more information, and to access reading resources, visit RIF's website at .

Discover the Joy!

About the National Writing Project

The National Writing Project is a nationwide network of educators working together to improve the teaching of writing in the nation's schools and in other settings. NWP provides high-quality professional development programs to teachers in a variety of disciplines and at all levels, from early childhood through university. Through its network of more than 200 university-based sites located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, NWP develops the leadership, programs, and research needed for teachers to help students become successful writers and learners. For more information, visit NWP can also be reached through Facebook and Twitter .

About FableVision, Inc.

Founded in 1996 by NY Times best-selling children's book author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds, FableVision , is an award-winning digital media developer and educational technology publisher. Co-located at the Boston Children's Museum, the firm creates best-in-class digital content and tools for major media/publishing organizations, such as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Ruckus Media Group, Pearson Education, MPT, MIT Education Arcade, Scholastic/Weston Woods, as well as PBS, Jim Henson Productions. FableVision also has its own award-winning creativity, writing and learning tools for the K12 market. Earlier this year, FableVision was awarded the 2010 Prix-Jeunesse International Interactivity Prize for its Dinosaur Train Website, which it developed for Henson & PBS.