Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) and The National Writing Project (NWP) have once again teamed up with Boston-based educational media production firm FableVision in support of literacy education for underserved children. Following the success of their first collaboration on Our Book by Us, a hands-on activity book for pre-schoolers, the team's attention now turns to elementary-aged readers and their teachers with the bilingual, early reader chapter book The Curious Adventures of Sydney and Symon in: Water Wonders. Water Wonders was written by best-selling children's book author/illustrator and FableVision founder Peter H. Reynolds with identical twin brother Paul A. Reynolds, as well as support from FableVision's lead creative Renèe Kurilla. The heavily illustrated chapter book stars Sydney and Symon Starr, a brother and sister team who explore their world by asking questions and conducting experiments with help from their family and teachers. Together, they explore science concepts while expressing themselves through writing, art, and song, bringing to life the STEAM approach, which aims to introduce the arts - "A" - to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math). The book also includes engaging extension activities that encourage readers to experiment and solve problems on their own, as well as suggested further reading. Through the STEAM approach, Water Wonders not only delivers key National Science Standards, but also encourages critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity--the "4 C's" in the 21st Century Readiness Framework.
The first non-commercial printing of Water Wonders, produced as a dual English-Spanish edition, is being distributed for free by RIF and NWP nationwide to schools and programs in disadvantaged communities. FableVision has also produced an interactive, online version of the story, which will be available on the RIF website in early 2011. FableVision's literary and entertainment agency is working on a plan for commercial trade series based on the Sydney & Symon.