Reading Is Fundamental


We inspire children to read

Nearly 50 years ago, a former schoolteacher named Margaret McNamara told four children that they could each choose one of several new books to keep as their very own. She had no idea what an impact her simple act of kindness would have on the lives of those students—and millions more like them.

On November 3, 1966, McNamara and a group of local teachers and volunteers in Washington, D.C., launched a full-fledged book distribution program designed to motivate and empower young readers. They called it Reading Is Fundamental.

RIF now stands as the nation's largest literacy nonprofit organization. To date, we have given away more than 412 million new, free books to kids in need across the country—inspiring them to be lifelong readers and achieve their full potential.


We envision a literate America in which all children have access to books and the opportunity to achieve their full potential through the life-changing power of reading.

RIF transforms lives through the power of books. By providing children in need with access to and choice of high-quality books and enriching literacy resources and motivational activities, we empower young minds to embrace the world of reading and learning.

We need your help

A book can transform a child's life. Thanks to the generous support of corporations, foundations, community organizations, and thousands of Book Lovers just like you, we are sparking such transformations every day. Your generosity allows us to fulfill our mission and put young people on the path to discovering the inspiring array of people, places, and ideas that await them inside the world of books.