When Creative Teaching Press founder Luella Connelly and author Rozanne Lanczak Williams teamed up to create the first books in the Learn to Read series over 15 years ago, it was in response to a need expressed by primary-grade teachers for more books to help students who were learning to read.
With 30 years of combined classroom experience and an in-depth knowledge of literacy research and child development, Luella and Rozanne set out to help young readers in preschool through second grade who either were just beginning their reading journey or were struggling to gain literacy skills. Each book was created to encourage and support students’ reading efforts by providing the following elements:
- High-interest topics for beginning readers
- Humorous or surprise endings that children love
- Predictable story lines with repeating text
- Illustrations on every page that match the text to provide maximum support to the emergent reader
- Targeted skill practice in phonics, sight words, vocabulary, literacy concepts, and other learning skills
- Extension activities at the back of each book
- Endearing characters that children adore
Rozanne incorporated in the series topics that relate to key curriculum areas, such as math, social studies, and science. To capture children’s interest, she introduced the Fun & Fantasy books, which featured fun themes and subjects that weren’t covered in the curriculum areas. These popular readers have monsters, bears, mudpies, and more!
In developing the series, Rozanne worked closely with classroom teachers to ensure that the books met the needs and interests of emergent readers. Several books, such as Our Pumpkin, We Can Make Graphs, and Houses, were written by teachers and their students. Pilgrim Children Had Many Chores and I See Shapes were written and illustrated by first grade students.
Over the years, teacher response to the Learn to Read series has been overwhelming. Teachers love the versatility of the books, which can be used in reading class, during small-group reading, and during math, social studies, or science lessons. Teachers nationwide have purchased the series to build their classroom libraries, to supplement their literacy programs, and to successfully teach millions of students to read.
The International Success of Learn to Read
With over 20 million books sold, the Learn to Read series is CTP’s top-selling series in the U.S. and abroad. The stories are designed to provide maximum support to emergent readers through repetitive and predictable story lines that help reinforce reading and understanding the English language. The use of natural language, how children really talk, and multicultural content, images, and photographs are appealing to parents and educators worldwide. The Learn to Read series is now sold in European, Middle Eastern, Latin American, Oceania, African, and Asian markets.
Who Are We?
Creative Teaching Press (CTP) is a family-owned and teacher-managed publisher of supplementary educational resources for children in grades PreK–8 (ages 3–14). CTP is a recognized leader in the educational publishing industry and offers a wide variety of classroom learning décor, music, and research-based, teacher-tested products. CTP offers an assortment of learning resources for parents and teachers in a variety of subject areas, including phonics, reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. CTP celebrates more than four decades of providing parents and teachers from around the world with high-quality, easy-to-use learning materials.
How Did We Begin?
In 1965, Luella Connelly was a classroom teacher looking for products that would pick up where textbooks left off. After 17 years in the classroom, she knew that students often needed something beyond textbooks to reinforce skills in a creative format. With this in mind, Luella created “Recipes for Creative Writing,” a box of 4” x 6” cards full of writing ideas. What started as a simple idea to help children learn turned into a company that Luella and her husband, Pat, ran until their retirement in 1998.
The company’s big break came in 1977 with the introduction of its innovative Scratch `n Sniff reward stickers. Market response to the stickers was phenomenal, with children, parents, and teachers all over the world buying and collecting them! Still today CTP’s “77’s” are well-known nationwide among teachers, parents, collectors, and children/students, including the now grown adults who received the stickers when they were young.
Where Are We Now?
Since the Scratch `n Sniff phenomenon, CTP has expanded offerings to cover educational needs for grades PreK–8. CTP continues to be at the forefront of the educational market because the company’s products are developed by teachers and educators who understand firsthand what resources parents and teachers need to help children learn. The members of CTP’s product development team regularly visit classrooms and attend workshops and conventions to ensure that CTP’s products are what parents and teachers want and need to educate children.
The company is led today by Jim Connelly, the son of Luella and Pat. Jim has held multiple titles and responsibilities since joining the company in 1982. He was named president in 1994, and during his tenure with CTP, the company has expanded its sales and international market presence with licenses and distributors in 40 countries worldwide.
In its 45 years in business, Creative Teaching Press has developed a long tradition of producing high-quality, successful, innovative, and educationally sound products that have a proven track record in the classroom and in the home.