Free copies of ‘The Little Red Fort’ available for every 4-year-old child in Colorado

Colorado Department of Education

A total of 75,000 free copies of the children’s book “The Little Red Fort,” written by Brenda Maier and illustrated by Sonia Sanchez, will be available in English and Spanish through Oct. 25 for every 4-year-old in the state as part of the One Book Colorado program. 

A copy of “The Little Red Fort” is available for any child who is, or has been, 4 years old in 2020. 

Please come by the Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library or attend any program and pick up this free book for your 4-year-old youngster. Better yet, bring them in to pick up their books and see the opportunities for fun and learning that are available free at your library. 

One Book Colorado, now in its ninth year, is a privately funded collaboration among Serve Colorado, the Colorado State Library, the Denver Preschool Program, Denver7, Mile High United Way, and public and military libraries across the state.

The 2020 One Book selection follows Ruby, a girl who finds some old boards and decides to build something. With sprightly text and winsome pictures, “The Little Red Fort” is a modern spin on the timeless tale of “The Little Red Hen” and celebrates the pluck and ingenuity of young creators everywhere. 

“We are so thrilled to be able to offer this year’s book to every 4-year-old in Colorado. Getting books into the hands of our youth is so important and we’re grateful to our sponsors who helped make this happen,” said Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera. “I read to my daughters every night as they were growing up and I am happy to continue this tradition with my three grandchildren today.”

The One Book program stems from the idea that providing young children with access to books promotes early literacy skills and helps parents and families serve as their children’s first and most important teachers. Research has shown that 37 percent of children begin kindergarten without the reading skills necessary for lifelong learning. Children are more likely to show up to their kindergarten classroom ready to read if they have had regular access to books and adults who read with them frequently. Visit the state’s new website, ReadWithMe.Today, to find tips and resources that can help parents make reading a part of their child’s daily routine.

“It is never too early for parents and family members to begin building a child’s love of reading,” said Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes. “By giving every child a book of their own, the One Book program is a great way to engage Colorado’s children who are learning to read. We are grateful that this program offers an opportunity for parents to help their young students develop this essential learning skill.”

For low-income families, access to quality books and early literacy efforts are even more important, as research shows that children in low-income families tend to have fewer books in their homes and are exposed to 30 million fewer words before the age of 4 than their higher-income peers. One Book Colorado aims to help close this vocabulary gap by giving a free book to every 4-year-old in the state. 

This story was posted on October 19, 2020.