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Fact Sheet


RIF’s mission is to motivate young children to read by working with children, their parents, and community members to make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life.


Founded in 1966 by Margaret McNamara, RIF is the nation’s oldest and largest children’s and family nonprofit literacy organization. Supporters include first ladies Lady Bird Johnson, Rosalynn Carter, Barbara Bush, and Laura Bush; comedian Carol Burnett; actress Rhea Perlman; and NBA stars Shaquille O’Neal and Juwan Howard.


  • RIF serves more than 4 million children nationwide, with a focus on children from birth to age 8.
  • In 48 years, RIF has distributed more than 412 million free, new books to more than 40 million children.
  • RIF is supported by more than 400,000 volunteers nationwide.


  • RIF is supported by Congress and the U.S. Department of Education.
  • RIF has partnerships with dozens of corporations and private foundations, and we receive donations from thousands of individuals.
  • Nearly 90 percent of RIF’s annual budget is used to purchase books and support local RIF sites.


Books for Ownership

  • Provides free books to the nation’s most needy children.
  • Engages children in fun reading-related activities.
  • Motivates children to read for fun.
  • Encourages parents and community members to become involved in children’s literacy.

Educational Resources at RIF.org

  • RIF’s Leading to Reading website and its bilingual mirror site, Semillitas de Aprendizaje, are designed to help parents and caregivers develop the language skills of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.
  • The RIF Reading Planet and Let's Read as a Family/Leamos en Familia encourage children to explore a fun, online world of books as they engage in an assortment of reading and writing games, activities, and contests. Visit www.rif.org for access to both websites.

Professional Services

  • Offer trainings to center- and home-based daycare providers in support of the emergent literacy skills of preschool children.
  • Provide trainings and resources to parents, including access to free videos, information, and tips on making reading a fun part of their children’s day.

Fact Sheet