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Reading Is Fundamental Awards August Programs of the Month

Programs serving children in Naples, Fla., Amanda, Ohio, and Loiza, Puerto Rico recognized for literacy efforts in their communities

WASHINGTON, August 5, 2009—Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the nation's oldest and largest children and families' literacy nonprofit organization, has named its three Programs of the Month award recipients for August 2009. These three RIF programs are based out of Golden Gate Elementary (Naples, Fla.), Amanda Clearcreek Local School (Amanda, Ohio) and Escuela de la Comunidad Celso Gonzalez (Loiza, Puerto Rico).

"These three RIF programs have done outstanding jobs at motivating children to read," said Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of RIF. "Studies show that children who read for pleasure do better in school. RIF is proud to recognize the work of these RIF programs for their achievement in helping children discover the joy and value of reading."

For 16 years, Golden Gate Elementary's RIF program has served 900 children Pre-K to grade 5. Media Specialist Kelly Knapke coordinates the book distributions. Literacy is central to this school experience: students dive into books and literacy with reading incentives that expose them to a variety of genres and authors, writing activities based on shared readings, and story retellings with handmade manipulatives to take home and share with family. You will find book talks on the morning closed circuit news and "Bagels and Books" each month in the media center where students dine on bagels while sharing a book with a parent, teacher, or caring adult.

Amanda-Clearcreek Local School District serves 104 young parents and children through RIF's Shared Beginnings program. Kathryn Rausch has been the RIF coordinator at Amanda-Clearcreek since it began in 2003. Rausch is a phenomenal coordinator, truly exemplifying what it means to rise above your circumstances to further the mission of RIF. She helps young parents discover the tie between reading and success in school or life. Positive interactions between RIF volunteers, the young parents, and their children are resulting in healthier families and communities.

Escuela de la Comunidad Celso Gonzalez serves 630 children in kindergarten and elementary school. For nine years, Zulma Rivera-Cordova has been the dedicated RIF coordinator, building the quality of the RIF program and reaching out to the local community for financial and operational support. Despite difficult economic times, she raised the local funds needed to continue the RIF program for yet another year. Prior to a book distribution, kindergarten students participate in an audio visual read-aloud, created by 3rd grade students and the librarian. RIF book distributions include books that promote Puerto Rican culture, for the children to easily identify with, as well books in English and Spanish, which Rivera-Cordova believes are important to the children maximizing their bilingual abilities.

RIF's Programs of the Month initiative was launched to honor the ongoing efforts of local programs to fulfill the mission of RIF, which depends on programs like these to promote children's literacy. Thanks to thousands of volunteers, children all across the country are discovering the joy of reading.

About RIF
Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF), founded in 1966, motivates children to read by working with them, their parents, and community members to make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life. RIF's highest priority is reaching underserved children from birth to age 8. Through community volunteers in every state and U.S. territory, RIF provides 4.5 million children with 16 million new, free books and literacy resources each year. For more information and to access reading resources, visit RIF's website at www.rif.org.

Discover the Joy!

Layla Wright-Contreras,
Media Relations Manager

Reading Is Fundamental Awards August Programs of the Month